Richard Lomax and Alasdair Darroch respond to a suggestion from the Magistrates Association to clear the backlog of crown court cases
Bev Higgs, national chair of the Magistrates Association, is right to suggest reforms are needed to fix the criminal justice system (Letters, 7 October). But no one who has read the Secret Barrister’s assessment of the magistrates courts would want to extend their powers.
A better way forward would be to implement Sir Robin Auld’s recommendation for a new intermediate court with power to sentence up to two years’ imprisonment, under the control of a professional judge (Criminal justice review urges removal of right to trial by jury, 9 October 2001). Amateur judges should lose the power to imprison.