Criminal justice in crisis?
Parliament aims to spread the word
Another day, another podcast. For the second time this week, I find myself being interviewed by one of the lawyers I would gladly interview for my own Radio 4 programme Law in Action.
Today’s podcast is produced and published by the House of Commons as part of a series called Committee Corridor.The latest episode is called A Criminal Justice in Crisis? and it begins with me introducing the problems facing criminal justice in England and Wales — in broad terms and, I hope, reasonably objectively.
The presenter is Joanna Cherry KC, Scottish National Party MP for Edinburgh South West and chair of parliament’s joint committee on human rights. Also interviewed for the podcast are Dame Diana Johnson, Labour chair of the Commons home affairs committee and Sir Bob Neill, Conservative chair of the Commons justice committee.
I have huge respect for the work that both houses of parliament are putting into engaging with the wider public. You can listen to Committee Corridor here or on other podcast providers.
My contribution was recorded on 27 February. That was before we learned that magistrates’ sentencing powers were to be reduced because of pressure on prisons. It was also before the High Court had ruled that prisoners may have been wrongly released — or detained — because the justice secretary Dominic Raab had impermissibly interfered with the justice process.
I reported that judgment yesterday while Raab was giving evidence to the Lords justice and home affairs committee (above). If the timing had not been so tight, its members might have asked him what he plans to do about the ruling and its consequences.
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I wondered if that gave me the same protection against defamation as I have when I give evidence to a select committee — but I’m assured that this is not the case. There’s more advice online.
Very many thanks, Joshua, for the revelation - for me, at least-about the reduction in Magistrates’ sentencing powers.
From forty seven years of appearing before them I have a very high regard for the Magistracy. That once said, given the irresponsible and (presumably) ideologically driven underfunding and under regarding of the criminal justice system since in particular 2010, the reduction in sentencing powers must surely be a sensible step.
I am with Chair of the Criminal Bar,Kirsty Brimelow,KC, over this since over the imposition of the full extent of their powers before the twenty sixth of February yet MORE low or medium level offenders would have been lost in the maw of our shameful prison estate ,much of which would have been condemned if cattle had been “housed” in it.