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MA in the media

18 August 2020
MA in the media

The Independent quoted MA National Chair John Bache’s response to the Justice Select Committee’s report on the impact of Covid-19 on the courts. John echoed the report’s concerns about the impact of video technology on fair participation, adding that ‘We have long argued that remote hearings should not be used for vulnerable defendants’. In the Sunday Times, MA Chief Executive Jon Collins explained that some defendants might not understand proceedings if in a different room, and that there are concerns that witnesses or alleged victims could be ‘coached’ to give false testimony if participating remotely.

MA Deputy Chair Bev Higgs was interviewed by Times Radio about the court backlog, where she spoke about the challenges posed by Covid-19 and how the reduction of the court estate in recent years had placed the courts under pressure. She also explained some of the benefits of being a magistrate and encouraged listeners to apply.

John Bache and MA trustee Jacqui MacDonald-Davis were interviewed about the importance of judicial diversity. The interview appeared in the Daily Telegraph as well as several local news outlets. Jacqui spoke about her own experience of becoming a magistrate, explaining: ‘I recognised that I was in the minority’ but that she asked herself ‘What are you going to do about it?’ Speaking about the importance of young and BAME people applying to the magistracy particularly in the light of the recent Black Lives Matter Movement, she said: ‘It is about being involved. No longer standing on the sideline and shouting in’. Part of that process, she added, is saying ‘I should become a magistrate’.

John explained that ‘Diversity is really, really important’ and that the magistracy must reflect the community it serves as a vital part of engendering trust. ‘If you think are not the sort of person that can become a magistrate then you are exactly the sort of person that we want’, he added.  Jacqui was additionally interviewed by Channel 5 News and John Bache appeared on Bloomberg Radio to further discuss the importance of a diverse magistracy.

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