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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 March 2007, 13:39 GMT
JP ticked off for xenophobic talk
One of Manchester's longest-serving magistrates has been reprimanded after complaining about "bloody foreigners" in court.

Alan Mitchell, 68, who was sitting as chairman of the bench, made the remark after dealing with his list of cases.

When one of his colleagues overheard it, she pointed out that she was married to an Iranian and said she was unhappy with his comments.

A formal complaint was made and an internal investigation launched.

The magistrate, who joined the bench in 1971, is reported to have said last April: "Don't talk to me about bloody foreigners. I have to travel three miles to go to a decent chip shop. Don't get me started on Rusholme and curry."

He is understood to have uttered the remark when two magistrates, a clerk, and a prosecutor were in the Manchester court.

Mr Mitchell was given a reprimand for inappropriate language. I'm sure he will learn from that
Department for Constitutional Affairs

No defendants or members of the public were present.

A panel recommended that Mr Mitchell, from Greater Manchester, should be transferred to the "supplemental list" - a secondary list of JPs who are seldom called upon to sit on the bench.

However, it is understood Mr Mitchell did not accept this recommendation.

A letter written to the person who complained about his remarks stated: "As a result of finding some of the allegations proved the panel has made a recommendation that Mr Mitchell should transfer from the Active List of Magistrates to the Supplemental List.

"This means that if the recommendation is upheld Mr Mitchell would not sit in court again as a magistrate."

This was considered by the Office for Judicial Complaints - part of the Department for Constitutional Affairs.

The case was reviewed by the Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, and the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips. They decided Mr Mitchell should be reprimanded and allowed to return to the bench.

A spokesman for the Department for Constitutional Affairs said: "Mr Mitchell was given a reprimand for inappropriate language. I'm sure he will learn from that."

Mr Mitchell declined to comment.

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