UK's Only Gypsy Magistrate Sacked For Criticising The Police
If you read this and the article underneath about another Magistrate who to my mind quite rightly spoke out against the Police, then you must draw your own conclusions as to why this gentleman was not sacked, but I was
Anyone who did not see the original posting on this matter please scroll down a little, the post on the balance of the scales of justice gives far more detail.
Straw sacks magistrate who criticised police
By Robert VerkaikSunday, 8 June 2008
Jack Straw was at the centre of a political row last night after he sacked a magistrate who criticised the police for failing to protect her daughter from being physically assaulted at school.
Mr Straw, the Secretary of State for Justice, has written to the magistrate saying that while he understands a mother's desire to help her daughter, her criticism of the police means she can no longer be trusted to be impartial in court.
"We have concluded that although you acted with the best interests of your daughter, your behaviour has led to your impartiality being brought into question," Mr Straw said in the letter. "It is clear that by mentioning you were a magistrate and then criticising the police, the two issues became linked and therefore there is doubt whether you would be able to consider matters involving the police impartially."
Shay Clipson, 50, a magistrate from Grimsby, Humberside, believed to be the only Romany magistrate on the bench in England and Wales, had asked police to help protect her 13-year-old daughter from a gang that had been bullying her in and out of school.
She claims her daughter had been subjected to beatings, racially abused, spat on, had cigarettes stubbed out in her hair, and had been thrown into the traffic on a very busy road.
The news comes a week after it emerged that the family of 15-year-old Arsema Dawit had complained to the police that she was being harassed shortly before she was stabbed to death in a London council block.
Ms Clipson said: "On 20 September 2007, my daughter had been told by a key member of this gang that she was going to be subject to a beating, possibly during the lunch break, failing that definitely on her way home. Neither the headteacher nor the head of year would make themselves available to speak to me. I told the school that in that case I would have to involve the police."
But, she said, the local police made it clear that they would not intervene. When Ms Clipson complained about the officers' alleged inaction, the police reported her behaviour to the local bench committee and then to Mr Straw, who upheld her dismissal.
Police were later forced to investigate when her daughter was badly assaulted by a family member of the same gang. In a separate incident, recorded on mobile phones and uploaded to YouTube, Ms Clipson's daughter was kicked unconscious on the school playingfield.
But Mr Straw, in a joint ruling with the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips, found that by raising the fact that she was a member of the local magistracy, Ms Clipson cannot be trusted to do her job.
David Howarth, the Liberal Democrat spokesman on justice, said: "Mr Straw's action is shameful and very heavy-handed ... Why can't a magistrate criticise the police? ... The police should not be able to end the career of a magistrate just because they don't like being criticised."
Ms Clipson said she feels let down by the system. "I was acting as a mother who had good reason to be both furious and to question the lack of competence and ethics that were being displayed. Not only was my child terrified for her safety, this campaign of terror was based on racism, mainly her Welsh accent, and possibly her Romany background, yet the police were not doing enough to support her."
Magistrate’s shock at Boro fans’ treatment by police
Apr 30 2008 by Marie Levy, Evening Gazette
TEESSIDE magistrate Mick Dobson today told of his shock at seeing innocent fans intimidated by police at the Wear-Tees derby.
The Sunderland fan has vowed never to attend another derby match after witnessing what he describes as police provoking trouble from the minute fans stepped off the train.
Mr Dobson, who works as a scout for Manchester City Football Club, said: “I have been working in professional football for 20 years and I have never seen anything like it.
“I have nothing but scorn for Northumbria Police, so much so that I will not go to another derby match again. I feel nothing but sympathy for the Middlesbrough supporters; they were very harshly treated.”
Mr Dobson, who lives in Norton, got the train to the match with his wife, Maureen and Boro fans Maggie and Len Robinson of Billingham.
He said there was a stark contrast between the way police treated them at Middlesbrough and the hostile reception they got in Sunderland.
“Police at Middlesbrough station put the four of us at the bottom end of the train. They operated really friendly and professionally.
“There were Middlesbrough, Sunderland, Hartlepool and Nottingham Forest supporters on the train. The banter was very friendly and there were no incidents
“As we came into Sunderland railway station we saw about 50 police on the platform, many in full riot gear. They opened only one door which meant we had to get off the train one at a time.
“Ten to 20 police ran towards us shouting, screaming and banging their riot gear - it was unbelievable. The police were very intimidating and very aggressive. There were a lot of people getting pushed about who were not even going to the match.
“One old woman was crying her eyes out. She had only gone up for the shopping.”
When questioned an inspector told Mr Dobson it was his job to be intimidating but he soon changed his tone when he was informed that Mr Dobson was a magistrate.
“They escorted us to the exit but all the doors were locked and bolted. If there had been a fire there would have been a lot of casualties,” said Mr Dobson, who also had to wait for over an hour for his friends to be let out of the Stadium of Light after the match.
“The police were provoking a lot of the trouble. To be honest I might not even go back to Sunderland. I’m at an age now where I do not want the hassle.
“I was just really annoyed that people could be treated like this.
“As a magistrate I try to be fair and reasonable and look at both sides, people are always innocent until proven guilty.”
Northumbria Police Superintendent Neil Mackay, head of the force’s operations unit, said: “From the intelligence and evidence we had we were aware that large numbers of risk groups from both sides would be attending the match.
“They arrived at the city centre early and began drinking in public houses and there was some disorder during the match.”
He said most fans were good supporters but there were some groups causing confrontation.
“My officers came under attack from bottles,” he said. “My intention at any game like this is to prevent innocent fans from being injured.
“We did that, but the only way to police a match safely is to take a strong stand with some supporters.”