As a teenager sport was not my thing. In my twenties sport was not my thing. In my thirties sport was not my thing. In my 40s I took up running and now I run A LOT! Running has become very important to me - important to me physically, important to me mentally.
Ensuring that people get treated fairly is something else that’s very important to me.
Justice must be seen to be done but it must also be heard and it must be understood.
Many years ago, when I was a magistrate a man appeared in court accused of being an ‘incorrigible rogue’. I recall there being a lot of time spent as the court clerk advised the bench upon various sections of the Vagrancy Act, and all the while this man stood looking bored, uninterested, uninvested. I remember thinking at the time how utterly bizarre the whole scenario was, that lots of discussion was taking place about the terminology and whether it was being correctly applied, yet nobody seemed too concerned with assisting this defendant understand what he was accused of in order that he could make an informed decision about his plea. I cannot recall what plea he made but I do recall his reaction upon being given his bail sheet. He promptly screwed the sheet up into a ball, then popped it into his mouth!
He was literally eating the words.
He shouted to the court that the sheet meant nothing to him, that he couldn’t read it, that there were too many conditions for him to remember, that he was homeless so wouldn’t remember when to go to the appointments and likely wouldn’t have the money to get himself there anyway. Then he stormed out of court. With hindsight it’s obvious that an intermediary should have been considered.
Intermediaries for Justice aims to raise awareness of the communication needs of vulnerable people involved in the justice system. IfJ have a vision of a justice system where all people, including those with vulnerabilities can understand the questions they are asked and can tell what has happened.
I am running Milton Keynes marathon on May 2nd and I hope you’ll consider sponsoring me so that together we can raise funds for IfJ and raise awareness of the very important role intermediaries play in enabling fair access to justice for vulnerable people.
A huge thank you to our patron, Lady Henrietta St George who has been regularly donating to IfJ since 2017.
"I am happy to be involved with Intermediaries for Justice as another way of helping those who may be underprivileged or are having difficulties in getting their voice heard. I wish IfJ every success in spreading the word!"