Letter: Royal Commission's plan to abolish the right to trial by jury will multiply miscarriages of justice

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Sir: I am a relatively new member of the lay magistracy but a long-time member of the community and much involved with social service. Your leading article 'More tuning than overhaul' (7 July) intimates that we, as magistrates, may be less than judicial in our judgements and socially biased. The system of lay magistracy, as laid down, supports a judgement by peers which, in itself, is intended as fair and just. By innuendo, your leader seems to suggest possible bias against certain strata of our society, whoever these may be.

Perhaps you would point me in the direction of the studies that show 'that magistrates invariably adopt the prosecution's submission' and the barristers 'who believe that magistrates, in practice, would favour those whom society considers to be more respectable than others'.

I strongly defend our complete impartiality.

Yours faithfully,


Harrogate, North Yorkshire

7 July