'Impartial, independent, integrity' - Judges message to new magistrates

Ipswich Crown Court swearing in ceremony for three new magistrates

New magistrates Laura Lawrence, Rachel Summers and Crawford Kingsnorth picture in front were welcomed by Edward Creasy, high sheriff of Suffolk, Judge Martyn Levett, and Jill Stuchfield, Suffolk magistrates bench chair. - Credit: Jane Hunt

A judge has welcomed three new Suffolk magistrates at a ceremony at Ipswich Crown Court.

During the swearing-in ceremony, Judge Martyn Levett spoke of the pressures on the courts due to delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic and said the new magistrates would find themselves dealing with offenders from an increasingly young section of the county as well as an ever-increasing number of the elderly.

The new magistrates are: Laura Lawrence, Rachel Summers and Crawford Kingsnorth.

He told the magistrates that in order to uphold public confidence in the courts they must be “impartial, independent and act with integrity”.

“With each word comes the word accountability. Any judicial branch which is behind with disposal of its caseload may be independent and impartial, but it is not performing to public expectation in being accountable. Delays in justice is justice denied,” said the judge.

He also said there couldn’t be justice if there was a postcode lottery excluding remote rural areas from access to the courts.

“This is why with increased use of technology, we are now able to permit evidence to be given by way of remote links, saving much unnecessary travel but preserving - and hopefully improving- access to justice,” he added.

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