The Magistrates Association hopes the recent Black Lives Matter (BLM) demonstrations will encourage ethnic minority activists to sign up to boost “diversity” in the criminal justice system, according to a PA news agency report.
The association, which represents magistrates in England and Wales, called for more young black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) people to volunteer for the roles. At present, 88 per cent of lay justices are white.
In England and Wales, magistrates are volunteers who hear cases for minor offences and impose punishments on individuals. They deal with around 90 per cent of total criminal court cases each year.
Jacqueline Macdonald-Davis, a black woman who has worked as a magistrate for 15 years, said it was important for young race activists to get “involved” with the criminal justice system rather than “standing on the sideline and shouting in”.
Young people “have to engage in the process — which is exactly what they are doing now,” she said, seemingly referring to the illegal protest movement which demanding Britain and other Western nations “abolish the police”, among other things.
“Part of that process is saying ‘I should become a magistrate’ and ‘I should be looking for jobs in the legal system’,” she stated, adding that more should be done to attract young BAME people to the role.
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 10, 2020
Magistrates courts are “facing a recruitment crisis”, according to the PA news agency, which reported that the number of magistrates plunged 43 per cent over the eight years to 2019.
Breitbart London previously reported on complaints over the alleged overrepresentation of white people amongst magistrates, which saw Magistrates Association chairman John Bache saying he “wouldn’t want to discourage” appointing criminals to the magistracy if it would boost diversity.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph in 2018, he said his association believed it was vital to “increase diversity in any way we can”, claiming that a judiciary comprising fewer “white faces” would boost BAME communities’ trust in the system.
Individuals With Criminal Records Should Become Magistrates For ‘Diversity’ https://t.co/uIlL1GAxNT
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 23, 2018
Interviewed by PA this week, the law chief echoed his previous remarks, telling the news agency: “I think when a defendant comes into court and he sees three white faces and his face isn’t white, I can see that he will think that those magistrates aren’t going to understand his situation.
“Diversity is really, really important.”
Reiterating that the Magistrates Association wants to see youths sign up to the bench, Bache lamented that young potential candidates may feel they lack the necessary experience to take on an important role.
“People might say ‘What life experience has he got, if he is only in his 20s?’ and the answer to that is ‘well, he’s got his life experience or her life experience’,” he said, redundantly.
“Their life experience is different but it is no less important,” he claimed.
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 8, 2017