Eleven new magistrates sworn-in at ceremony in Ipswich

Back row left to right: Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare, Countess of Euston; Judge Martyn Levett;

Back row left to right: Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare, Countess of Euston; Judge Martyn Levett; Chair of Suffolk Magistrates� Bench, Dawn Girling and High Sheriff of Suffolk, George Vestey. Front row: Simon Spence QC and the 11 new magistrates. - Credit: Archant

Eleven new Suffolk magistrates have been sworn-in at a ceremony at Ipswich Crown Court.

The ceremony was attended by Ipswich Crown Court’s resident judge, Martyn Levett, Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare, Countess of Euston, High Sheriff of Suffolk, George Vestey and Chair of Suffolk Magistrates, Dawn Girling.

The new magistrates are: Mrs Lynda Brignall, Mr Nicholas Clissitt, Mrs Caroline Commins, Mr Dave Corcoran, Mrs Ann Hayton, Mr John Jenkins, Miss Ruffa Mae Kemp, Mrs Elizabeth Ling, Mr Kirk Schartau, Mr Andrew Simmonds and Ms Katie White.

After taking their affirmations the new magistrates were congratulated by Judge Levett who said: “There are over 15,000 Magistrates currently serving Justice in the UK. You are unique because you will be the first and hopefully the last point of contact for many offenders.

“You will be dealing with offenders in criminal cases from an increasing young section of the county and an ever-increasing number of the elderly.

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“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.

“You are required to promote higher public trust and confidence in our judiciary. There cannot be justice if it is a postcode lottery excluding remote rural areas from access to the courts.

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“This is why with increased use of technology, we are able now to permit evidence to be given by way of remote links, saving much unnecessary travel but preserving (and, hopefully, improving) access to justice. A well-functioning justice system can also promote and facilitate rehabilitation,” said the judge.

The new magistrates were also welcomed by barrister Simon Spence QC, who told them that 80% of criminal cases were heard in magistrates’ courts.

He said that although a number of magistrates’ courts around the county had been closed and other changes had been made in the name of efficiency the role of magistrate was unchanged from that of the justices’ predecessors hundreds of years ago.

Eleven more new magistrates will be sworn-in at Ipswich Crown court tomorrow Friday (March 8).

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