By Stephen Shute
This ebook experiences on learn which investigates the perceptions of ethnic minorities bearing on their therapy within the legal courts. It examines the level to which ethnic minority defendants and witnesses in either the Crown court docket and the magistrates' courts perceived their therapy to were unfair, whether or not they believed any unfairness to were the results of ethnic bias, and even if this had affected their self belief within the legal courts. The learn, conducted through the Oxford Centre for Criminological study in organization with the college of Birmingham for the Lord Chancellor's division, concerned observations of circumstances and interviews with greater than one thousand humans (defendants, witnesses, barristers, solicitors, judges, magistrates and others), and fascinated with courts in Manchester, Birmingham and London. a good listening to? Ethnic minorities within the legal courts starts off via displaying how commonly held the idea has been that ethnic minorities are discriminated opposed to by means of the courts and through different enterprises within the legal justice method. It discusses the standards that contributed to this trust, together with the findings of the Macpherson record and the proposal of 'institutional racism'. the most a part of the e-book then seems on the institutional environment within which the study happened, the event of defendants and witnesses, their perspectives approximately how they have been handled by means of the legal courts, and the perspectives of others occupied with the court docket method. ultimate chapters within the e-book handle the difficulty of sensitivity to ethnicity at the a part of judges, magistrates and attorneys. It exhibits that attitudes and practices are looked as if it would have replaced for the higher and examines what extra has to be performed to extend the arrogance that individuals of ethnic minorities have within the equity of the felony courts.
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Extra info for A Fair Hearing?
In the magistrates’ courts, more than half (57 per cent) of the defendants for whom information was available had appeared for a motoring offence, and in three-quarters of these cases it was a serious offence of dangerous driving, driving with excess alcohol, driving while disqualified or driving with no insurance. 76 By far the most important fact to bear in mind is that the sample of defendants interviewed in both the Crown Court and the magistrates’ courts was skewed towards the most serious outcomes that could be experienced.
Obviously, one would expect those acquitted to have a more favourable view of the fairness of the outcome, although not necessarily of the fairness of the procedures. The reason why the research concentrated on the convicted is that we were unable – given the time and resources – to follow many trials to their completion. The researchers needed to get as many interviews with defendants as possible within the limited time that could be spent at each court. Where there had been a jury trial, it was not possible to predict when the jury would return with its verdict and if this happened, as it often did, at a time when the researchers were in another court room or interviewing a defendant in the cells, the acquitted 76 Fifty-four per cent of white, 58 per cent of black and 59 per cent of Asian defendants were convicted of motoring offences.
42 Perceiving racial bias it’. (He was a 43-year-old man, with previous convictions in the magistrates’ courts for driving while disqualified and at least one prior custodial sentence. ) ‘The judge’s summing up misled the jury . . The way the judge put me across – it was very biased towards me, the defendant. The judge made his decision before the pre-sentence report [which recommended a community rehabilitation order for possession of an offensive weapon, a sharp and heavy knuckleduster] was prepared .
A Fair Hearing? by Stephen Shute