When justice was seen to be heard
THE work of magistrates has been recognised by Lord Phillips, the Lord Chief Justice. Speaking to JPs from the North Herts bench he described them as one of the pillars of our criminal justice system . He said their role reflected the principle that a ci
THE work of magistrates has been recognised by Lord Phillips, the Lord Chief Justice.
Speaking to JPs from the North Herts bench he described them as "one of the pillars of our criminal justice system".
He said their role reflected the principle that a citizen accused of a crime had a right to be tried by their peers.
The words came during a visit of Lord Phillips to meet magistrates who serve on the North Herts bench and from other benches across the county.
Speaking at North Herts College in Stevenage, Lord Phillips told his audience that there were challenges facing magistrates.
One, he said, was the introduction of Custody Plus, a scheme where offenders can be sentenced to a combination of a short period in prison and a supervised community sentence afterwards.
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Nicholas Moss, chairman of the North Herts bench, said: "It was important for members of the bench to have someone speaking up for justice and the role of magistrates.
"Magistrates themselves are keen to engage with the community and this gave them the opportunity to listen to a message from a key person in the judiciary.
"It takes away the remoteness of just seeing the Lord Chief Justice as a figure," said Mr Moss.
Mr Moss was one of a number of magistrates who received a long-service certificate from Lord Phillips.
"He signed them all then and there," he said.
The certificates were presented to magistrates who had spent 20 years serving on the bench.