The magistrates’ court is the engine room of the justice system.
It is where all court cases start, and where 95 per cent finish.
Dealing with everything from petty theft to first appearances for murder, a day at the mags’ is a busy affair as the staff get through the dozens of cases on the list.
For offences committed after May, a bench of magistrates can impose a maximum sentence of a year in prison. Before that date, they can sentence to six months in prison for a single offence, or a year for more than one.
And so far in August, magistrates in Swindon have been exercising those powers, with court records showing that three people have been jailed already.
We’ve looked through the records to tell you more about those who are now behind bars.
A man was jailed after he was abusive to a police officer
Richard John Wright used threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, which was motivated by hostility towards “persons who are of a particular sexual orientation”, court records show.
Wright pleaded guilty to a section 4a public order offence, which took place on January 20.
He also admitted criminal damage after he spat in a police van and caused £30 of damage.
The 32-year-old, of no fixed abode, was jailed for two weeks because he is a serving prisoner.
Wright must also pay £30 in compensation to Wiltshire Police.
Disqualified driver jailed after trying to flee police
Billy Scott Trotman got behind the wheel of a Renault Clio on Firethorn Close in Swindon when he was banned from holding a licence.
He was drunk at the time, blowing almost double the drink-drive limit, and failed to stop when police tried to pull him over.
The 40-year-old also had no insurance during the incident on April 11.
Appearing at Swindon Magistrates’ Court last Monday, Trotman was jailed for 12 weeks.
Having previously pleaded guilty to failing to stop when required by a constable, driving without insurance, drink driving and driving whilst disqualified, magistrates deemed it was so serious because of his previous driving record and the fact he had driven whilst under the influence of alcohol.
Trotman, of Snowdon Place in Meadowcroft, was banned from driving for 38 months, and ordered to pay costs of £85 and a £128 victim surcharge.
Man jailed for more than ten months after he caused a “disturbance” at Great Western Hospital
James Jonathan Howells was at GWH on July 10 caused a nuisance or disturbance to an NHS staff member “who was working there or was otherwise there in connection with work and refused without reasonable excuse to leave the premises when asked to do so”.
He was also in court for a string of other offences he admitted, including using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to cause fear of or provoke unlawful violence against a woman on June 17 in Swindon.
Howells also admitted assaulting a police officer in Swindon on July 10 and a public order offence against a police officer on the same day.
He had also admitted breaching a suspended sentence, implemented in March for a public order offence and assaulting an emergency worker.
The 37-year-old received no separate penalty for causing a nuisance or disturbance at the hospital but was jailed for a total of 41 weeks for the other offences.
Howells, of Heronbridge Close in Westlea, was also ordered to pay a £128 victim surcharge.