Re: They've got you...
"No 'they' can't, because the law of the land is supposed to be interpreted and sustained in line with what a reasonably intelligent and just man on the street would do."
A magistrate is guided by his assisting law officials to apply their interpretation of the letter of the law. They have very little room for manoeuvre. However - electing to have a Crown Court jury trial increases the minimum sentence if found guilty.
I know of a trial where the defendant rightly elected to have a Crown Court trial on on the grounds that the prosecution's scant evidence was very subjective. However his lawyers - who were not specialists in that legal area - then convinced him to change his plea to guilty.
Their reasoning was that it would be seen as a "technical offence" with no intent - and he would get probation. Otherwise a jury could be very unpredictable in this subjective matter - and the minimum sentencing rules would increase a "guilty" sentence to a prison term.
When imposing probation - the judge apologised to the defendant that his hands were tied by the minimum sentencing rules. He also commented that the prosecution's evidence was very slight.
In my opinion an innocent man was railroaded by the system to accept the lesser of two undeserved punishments. It seems that the one legal person who applied intelligence and common sense found himself irrevocably bound by government imposed rules.