Magistrates to give free talks to groups on the court systemBy Laura Herbert
March 12, 2013
The magistrates' service is looking to get out to clubs and groups to explain why courts give the sentences they do.
The service which was 650 years old last year, is willing to offer free talks and presentations across Berkshire to a wide range of clubs, groups and societies so that people know more about the types of work the service does and why decisions such as light sentences are made.
Roger Doust, a former Metropolitan Police officer of 31 years who has since become a magistrate, said he and his colleagues have held many visits to schools and universities but now want more members of the public to know about the courts.
He said: "We are now moving into the adult world. Churches, religious groups, community groups have asked us to give talks as to why magistrates give the sentences they do. They are not aware how our hands are tied really."
Mr Doust, one of around 50 court chairmen, said he giving the talks helps people understand why sentences are not always what they would expect.
Mr Doust added: "We would like the opportunity to go out there and face people and tell them why we do this."
And he admits he was unhappy about sentencing when he was a police officer. "I have arrested so many people but then after all our hard work we would give them to the magistrate and they would let them off," he said.
Any group anywhere in Berkshire is welcome to take up the offer of the free talks and they can be morning, afternoon or evenings.
Contact bench support officer, Sangeeta Dhir at Reading Magistrates Court on (0118) 980 1826 (Monday and Wednesday) or (01753) 232156 (Tuesday only). Or email firstname.lastname@example.org