News and Comments

The TRUNK June 2020


30 June 2020

MA LGBT+ Group and Pride

The Stonewall rebellion was a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the LGBT+ community in response to a police raid that began in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan, New York City. Patrons of the Stonewall, other local establishments, and residents of the area fought back when a police raid became violent. The protests that followed are widely considered to constitute one of the most important events leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights.

A year later, on 28 June 1970, the first Pride March was held to mark the event in New York City. In the following years, many pride events have come to be held all over the world during the month of June. Designed to champion, commemorate and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, Pride Month has become an increasingly visible presence on the events calendar. The first UK Pride March was held in 1972 and has grown from 2,000 people marching in London to 30 Pride events across the country, engaging millions of people from diverse communities.

There are still debates about the need for Pride in the UK, given the relative tolerance and legal strides that have been achieved over the last few decades. Whilst this is true, members of the LGBT+ community do not always feel accepted and individuals still feel that they have to moderate their behaviour to minimise any negative reaction. There is still a huge amount of misunderstanding as well as homophobic and transphobic violence and prejudice. Reports in 2019 found that homophobic and transphobic hate crimes, including stalking, harassment and violent assault, had more than doubled in England and Wales over the preceding five years. Stonewall’s Gay in Britain report found that half of lesbian, gay and bisexual people would expect to face barriers to becoming a magistrate because of their sexual orientation, and one in six would expect worse treatment than a heterosexual person if appearing before a magistrate for a minor criminal offence.

The high rates of crime against members of the LGBT+ community across the country and the feelings of disempowerment and lack of support from the criminal justice system they report make it clear that there is still a long way to go to achieve real equality, even if we don’t face the same dangers that others do in other countries where simply being an LGBT+ person can lead to much more serious consequences.

The cancellation of Pride events this year has been a disappointment for many reasons. Chiefly because this year marks the 50th anniversary of the movement. But, also because these would have been the first Pride events that the newly established MA LGBT+ Group had planned to attend. We intend to fly the flag for the magistracy, and show that magistrates do represent the LGBT+ community. The group will work with the MA and our members to build on the dialogue that has started. We will develop stronger links with other LGBT+ groups to develop a platform to show that magistrates can and do come from the LGBT+ community, and increase representation.

As with many rights issues Pride has become a very visible focal point for the demands for equality. It is a positive demonstration of the pride the LGBT+ community has and has helped achieve many of the gains that are now enjoyed by LGBT+ people across the country. Today, the executive of the MA LGBT+ community would like to celebrate that.

Finally, although the challenges of lockdown and the pandemic will restrict some engagement with colleagues at events, conferences and Pride events we are finding ways to talk to our group members, but would also welcome conversations with magistrates who aren’t members of the LGBT+ community, but would like to get involved in our work. If you have any queries, or would just like a chat, please contact us on LGBT@magistrates-association.org.uk

Paul Brearley, Chair

Mark Leith Deputy-Chair

Thomas Quarton-Manuel, Deputy Chair

Leicestershire & Rutland MA: a salute to our Armed Forces’

Leicestershire & Rutland MA Chair, Margaret Bowler, was invited by the Lieutenancy Office to salute in honour of our Armed Forces, past and present.

The #SaluteOurForces campaign is a simple but important campaign to pay tribute to our Armed Forces’ communities for their bravery, dedication and sterling efforts to keep us safe in the UK and abroad.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Leicestershire County Council put together a portfolio of ‘virtual salutes’. 

The Chair said she was absolutely delighted to be invited to take part ‘I did not realise that the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Airforce all salute differently.  I am not quite sure which one I did!’ 

‘I decided to involve the family’s wonderful Shire Horse (JB), aptly named after the Queen’s Golden Jubilee 2002.  Although he posed well in the photograph, he did in fact take a while to cooperate – modesty or strong willed, not sure which!’

For more information, please contact Elaine Swanson

South and South East London MA: celebrating the MA centenary with a partial history

South and South East London MA was carved out of Kent Branch to serve members of the MA sitting in a magistrates’ court in the South East London Commission Area comprising Bexley, Bromley and Croydon Petty Sessional Divisions. An inaugural meeting was held at Bromley Town Hall on 21 January 1969, adopting the name South East London Branch of The Magistrates’ Association and rules following a model set by head office. An executive committee was formed with three members from each of the three courts, a pattern that continued to modern times. Amongst the members elected from Bromley were Joan Marsh, who was also elected to represent the branch on the Council of the Association (later becoming a national vice president); and John Williams, whose recollections form the basis of the early part of this history.

Please click here for the complete history 

For more information, please contact Andrew Melling

Bedfordshire MA: callout to retired members

Are you a retired magistrate in Bedfordshire? Do you want to keep in touch with what’s going on – and each other?

In addition to an open invitation to retired magistrates to attend its mini-conferences, Bedfordshire MA would like to find other ways to keep in touch and continue to enjoy your company.

Got an idea for a social event or outing, or a simple get together?

The branch would love to hear from you. It is working on a few ideas for the end of lockdown, so watch this space or click here to contact Georgina Glover.

Bedfordshire MA:Grandma and Grandad, what did you do in the great 2020 lockdown?’

Hugh Maisey: ‘I have completed six 1,000-piece jigsaws, redesigned the garden bor-ders, grown more than 50 zinnias from seed and had loads of bedding plants delivered. I also replaced the garage door motor, and managed 5-mile morning walks and exer-cise.’

Martyn Barley: ‘I renewed my MA membership after my first year. I’ve volunteered as a NHS Responder since the beginning of the crisis and have been available 24/7, but no vulnerable folk in the backwaters of Harrold seem to need my help!’

Karen Cursons: ‘I have been involved with the Leighton Linslade helpers group and have been delivering food parcels and prescriptions to our residents. We delivered over 1,000 Easter eggs to local children, the L&D hospital, mental health wards, emergency services and key workers. We also ar-ranged a nomination system for Birthday Bags, so 20 children got a bag with a card and a gift. The bags are made up from donations. In addi-tion, I am managing a secret warehouse where donations are kept and, with my daughter, we are checking on vulnerable people and managing the co-ordination of stock and volunteers. If you’d like to help our web address is www.leightonlinsladehelpers.org.uk .’

John Pickersgill: ‘We have been out on 6-mile walks every day and then I have put in extra running to make sure I keep fit for when 5-a-side football restarts! Our garden is now extremely tidy but our stock of wine and beer has diminished in proportion!’

Georgie Glover: ‘We’ve been video calling our granddaughter every day, set puzzles for our grandsons, have tidied our com-munity areas in a bit of guerrilla gardening, sorted our own gar-den and painted our fences. Our dog now has much shorter legs as he has been well walked! Twice a day!’

Wendi Momen: ‘I shop twice a week for my 95-year-old neighbour and clean his house when I deliver the food.’

David Wharton: ‘I’ve kept a full home renovation in motion by managing the builders. I’ve also done a lot more exercise than usual and watched even less TV.’

Hannah Stanbridge: ‘I was only furloughed about 3 weeks ago. Since then I’ve been focusing on fitness and I’ve signed up to learn Spanish. I managed to get hold of a TRX* and I’ve been using that for workouts since the gym is out of bounds. On a weekly basis I’ve taken part in a picture hunt for local children; but I’ve cheated a bit by printing out my pictures and colouring them. Honestly can’t even draw a decent stick man!’

Pauline Stewart: ‘My husband was very ill with Covid19 at the beginning of lockdown and the hardest part was not being able to nurse him. I was exhausted from disinfecting everywhere and living apart in the same house. Our prayers were answered, friends helped out with shopping and things are getting better.’

Bedfordshire MA would love to hear thoughts, comments and suggestions from its members. If you have any feedback to share with the branch, or any ideas as to how it might work better to support you, please click here to contact Hannah Stanbridge.

Central & North London MA: online event on Domestic Abuse

Central & North London MA invites its members to attend an online event on the topic of Domestic Abuse on 1 July. The branch is delighted to announce that Nicole Jacobs, the recently appointed Domestic Abuse Commissioner for England and Wales, will be keynote speaker at the event. 

Nicole will share her reflections on the current lockdown environment and its impact on domestic abuse across the country. The event will also be an opportunity to understand more about the role of the Domestic Abuse Commissioner and Nicole's priorities over the next few years. Central & North London MA hope the event will be extremely relevant for many colleagues as they anticipate a future return to court and potentially an increase in domestic abuse cases.

In order to attend the event, please click here to register via Eventbrite. Nearer the time, attendees who have registered via Eventbrite will be emailed joining instructions. 

The event will start promptly at 6pm so please join the online event ahead of 6pm to avoid missing the beginning. After Nicole's remarks have come to a close, there will be time for Q&A, where you will be able to submit questions online. The event will end at 7pm. 

If you have any questions please click here to contact Luke Rigg.

Greater Manchester Summer Update

Hopefully you all received last week’s Summer Newsletter by email, if not please contact the Branch Secretary here.

Just a gentle reminder for you to check your details on the membership portal, especially for any changes to your home address, for receipt of the MA Magazine, and email contact for interim notices and updates

For more information, please contact Peter Faulkner

Lockdown Stories

We wanted to give our members an opportunity to share their thoughts and experiences during the lockdown with each other. At the beginning of the lockdown, we asked that you let us know what you were doing with this time – gardening, spending time with your families, finally doing that spot of DIY, or catching up on good books. We requested anything from a captioned photo, to a few lines from a poem you’re reading, to a detailed account of how you have been keeping busy.

The response was both overwhelming and inspiring. Throughout England and Wales, MA members are still doing their bit for their community, holding together their families, dealing with grief and finding ways to get through this trying period. The activities described – from the gentle joys of a country walk, to the pleasures of video chatting with loved ones, to the more sober musings on the nature of the times in which we find ourselves – were a heartening account of people across the country pulling together as best they can in the face of unnatural isolation.

We think it’s important that our members stay connected to us and each other, and sharing your stories, thoughts and experiences is a lovely way to do that. Over the last few months we have been privileged to share almost 70 lockdown stories with you.

As the lockdown eases and we attempt to return to the ways of old, we will be suspending the lockdown stories feature. We very much hope that you enjoyed the stories and that they created a small sense of community during a hard time. To round things off, here are a final three. As with all previous lockdown stories, these submissions were sent in throughout the lockdown period, so represent our members’ experiences at a range of different times.

Environmental musings in Buckinghamshire

I have just read Greta Thunberg’s book ‘No one is too small to make a difference’. Greta’s strap line is ‘unite behind the science’. It is referred to on many occasions in the book.

Watching the daily Covid-19 bulletins - and we can never praise highly enough our wonderful NHS - there is a certain irony when Ministers quite rightly say we are following scientific advice. If science can rid us, in due course, of Covid-19, should science be given similar importance (globally) to protect our also wonderful world?

Malcolm D Peckham

Buckinghamshire MA

 

Retired magistrates to be utilised not wasted, in Cambridgeshire

Whenever a crisis issue such as the current Covid-19 occurs, there are a large number of local efforts started to assist. In my own locality, as in many others I am sure, there are several efforts to distribute food, prescription medicines and so on to assist older and disabled people. Even the Police are looking for volunteers to distribute laptops to schoolchildren for home tuition.

The need for ‘credibility’ at short notice is essential for the perception of safety. This is not easy to create quickly. The magistracy - particularly the recently retired magistrates (like myself) - are most probably just the ‘type’ of people well capable of contributing. Additionally, the credibility of the magistracy as a whole could be well utilised.

Magistrates retire at 70, even though most who do so feel very disappointed with such an early retirement age. I, for example, am 76 and still very active. As such, I would suggest the creation of teams of retired magistrates to be deployed into local situations where personal credibility and trustworthiness is an immediate pre-requirement. Currently I suggest we are being wasted.

Malcolm Kane

Cambridgeshire MA

Till we meet again, from North & West Yorkshire MA

Since last I wrote to the MA, I have lost another colleague to the virus and another colleague has tested positive and been admitted to hospital. 

I will continue to carry out my duties as long as I am able in order to get essential users and key workers to their work, but my concern grows daily and it’s always there on the forefront of one’s mind. I am sure that there are many other magistrates out there doing just as I do to help others, particularly those on the front line of the NHS and I wish them well. 

I keep as positive an outlook as is possible and I am sure that things will improve with time. My thoughts are with all court staff of every level. I wish them all well too and I hope they stay safe always. We will shall get through this and I hope that we all greet each other with a smile when we see each other again.

Peter Young

North & West Yorkshire MA

500 Club - June WINNERS

1st Prize – Christine Belton (West Sussex)
2nd Prize – Howard Freeman (Central & North London)
3rd Prize – Gail Goodman (Lancashire County)

 

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2 comments on article "The TRUNK June 2020"

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Joan McConn

Hi,

Where can I see the January issue of the TRUNK as I have mislaid it.

Best Wishes,

Joan McConn


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Jo Easton

Hi Joan,

You can find the January issue of the Trunk here: https://www.magistrates-association.org.uk/News-and-Comments/the-trunk-january-2020

Thanks!

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