Page last updated at 14:05 GMT, Wednesday, 8 April 2009 15:05 UK

Magistrate was 'denied promotion'

A black magistrate has told a tribunal that her promotion was blocked because she raised concerns about the "hostile treatment" of black defendants.

Iris Josiah said she was prevented from becoming a court chairman in Enfield, north London, after she reported a colleague in 1999.

Miss Josiah, appointed as a Justice of the Peace in 1995, was suspended from her role in Enfield in April 2007.

Counsel for the Ministry of Justice has denied the race bias claims.

Miss Josiah told the Employment Tribunal in Stratford: "I have no doubt that I have been racially discriminated against and victimised over the years for raising concerns of racial discrimination against black defendants."

I have no doubt that the intention was to stop me from becoming a court chairman and to have me expelled from the magistracy on grounds of my race
Iris Josiah

Miss Josiah, of Lightcliffe Road, Palmers Green, north London, claims she was "bullied and victimised".

She claimed black defendants faced "harsh remarks, severe sentencing, disregard for personal mitigation, easy findings of guilt, and most likely to be sentenced to prison".

She raised the issue with fellow magistrate, Doreen Brown, before reporting her to senior staff in June 1999.

Since 2000 she was "put to the back of the line", Miss Josiah alleged.

"I am the longest-serving black magistrate sitting on Tuesdays and the second longest black female magistrate serving at Enfield Magistrates' Court.

"Every attempt I have made to become a court chairman and a mentor has been blocked."

She said she had completed all the necessary appraisals by December 2006 but in January 2007, before her appointment as court chairman was finalised, she was informed about a complaint against her.


Miss Josiah was accused of apologising to the defence counsel when the defendant was convicted.

She said the "manufactured" complaint was "part of the systematic and direct racial discrimination" she faced which caused her a "great deal of humiliation, distress and hurt".

"I have no doubt that the intention was to stop me from becoming a court chairman and to have me expelled from the magistracy on grounds of my race," she said.

Marina Wheeler, counsel for the Ministry of Justice, denied Miss Josaih's race claims and accused her of creating an issue with Mrs Brown which was motivated by anti-Semitism.

"This all began with you speaking in a way to Mrs Brown she didn't like and subsequently you accusing her people, i.e. Jewish, of being unfavourable towards your people."

Miss Josaih strongly denied the allegation.

The hearing continues.

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Race claim magistrate 'bullied'
06 Apr 09 |  London

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