Magistrates welcomed to new roles after pandemic delay
- Credit: Archant
A judge has welcomed seven new Suffolk magistrates in a ceremony nearly nine months after it had to be cancelled because of the coronavirus lockdown.
During the swearing in at Ipswich Crown court the resident judge, Martyn Levett referred to the backlog of cases due to the pandemic and said it was important for courts to remain open, safe for users and capable of getting through its heavy caseload.
He also told the new magistrates it was important for them to be impartial, independent and to act with integrity.
“If people are confident that the justice system is fair, impartial and carried out by people from their own communities, they will be more likely to respect and support those who are responsible for enforcing it,” said Judge Levett.
“The oath you have taken is an important reminder that the office you now hold is a serious one.
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“The eyes of the media are on you, and your court.
“The public has the right to know what takes place in the courtoom and what is happening locally and in their community.
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“The media acts as the eyes and ears of the public, enabling them to follow court proceedings and to be better informed.
“Open justice helps to ensure that trials are conducted properly and fairly.
“It puts pressure on witnesses to tell the truth. It can result in new witnesses coming forward.
“It provides public scrutiny of the trial process. It maintains public confidence in the administration of justice and it makes inaccurate and uninformed comment about proceedings less likely.
“I am quite sure that you will be responsive and aware of the barriers faced by the number of diverse court users: from minority groups, to the disabled and those who are mentally ill.
“There cannot be justice if there is a postcode lottery which excludes some sections of our communities from access to the courts simply because they live in remote rural areas, or they are from under-represented minority groups.”
The new magistrates are Adam Thomas, Andrew Meyer, Christopher Sedgwick, David Cobbledick, David Smith, Paul Kinlan and Mrs Hayley Brewis.