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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 December, 2004, 03:38 GMT
Community judge set to start work
David Fletcher
David Fletcher will be expected to build strong community links
The UK's first community judge will begin hearing cases on Thursday.

Judge David Fletcher, 47, is presiding over the new Community Justice Centre in Liverpool, which is based on a scheme in New York.

The centre will deal with low-level crime and anti-social behaviour, as well as offering drug treatment and debt counselling.

Judge Fletcher is expected to hear 15 anti-social behaviour cases at Liverpool Magistrates' Court.

A specially-created 3m centre will eventually be set up in a former school in Vauxhall, north Liverpool.

Speaking at the launch of the scheme in October, the judge said he believed the new system could cut the time it took for offenders to be dealt with by the courts.

He said: "In the event of someone entering a guilty plea, we could get them in the court, access the help they need and impose the sentence on the same day, instead of the process taking weeks."

Under the new system, the community judge, whose new position has a 113,121 salary, will be required to monitor the offender's progress over the course of any sentence that he hands down.

He will also involve victims of crime in helping to decide what punishments should be given.

Judge Fletcher, who is married with two children, became a solicitor in 1981 after graduating from the University of Liverpool.

He worked in private practice in Stoke-on-Trent, in Staffordshire, before being appointed as a deputy district judge in 1998. Since 2003 he has worked as a district judge on the Sheffield circuit.




SEE ALSO:
First justice centre judge named
18 Oct 04 |  Merseyside
Judge sought for community court
29 Jun 04 |  Merseyside
Neighbourhood court for Liverpool
10 Sep 03 |  Politics
Justice centre 'will face big job'
10 Sep 03 |  Merseyside
Sweeping changes to justice system
12 Jun 03 |  Politics


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