How do you become a magistrate anyway?

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Yet again we see local magistrates failing to fully enforce the law…

Disqualified driver Laiminus being sentenced to one of those utterly meaningless concurrent prison terms, suspended or not, for obstructing the police (Guardian, August 30), and habitual offender; taxi driver Shand, not given a further three points for his latest driving offence (Free Press, September 4).

This is a man that drives a vehicle for hire and, given his track record, is likely to put his fare paying passengers in danger every time he gets behind the wheel. Why does he still have the right to drive a taxi?

Both magistrates involved do appear not to have grasped the concept of suitable penalties/deterrents that are likely to protect the public and change behaviour.

Conversely, a young tearaway had his car seized for anti social behaviour – a power the police now have that doesn’t involve our slapdash and muddled thinking judiciary.

No car for a while plus the threat of further confiscation. Isn’t this type of penalty more likely to change behaviour?

Maybe we should give more powers to the police as they appear to be doing a far better job of law enforcement despite the appalling financial constraints imposed by central government.

Might also be a good idea to name (and shame) those magistrates that don’t seem to fully understand their duty to protect the public.

How do you become a magistrate anyway? The selection process does appear to be flawed and I’m unaware of any process that weeds out the incompetent.

Andrew MacDonald

Lutton