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UNPAID MAGISTRATES.

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UNPAID MAGISTRATES. A rather ee-ere s ntence recently pissed by the justices of Chipping Noiton upon some women charged itith an offenc; under the Criminal Law Amend mat Act, has directed public attention to the comparative advantages of paid and unpaid magistrates. On several previous occasions the extraurflinary decisions of country magistrates have awakened the same enquiry, and there is little doubt that the question will be raised again by similar cases. It is admitted on all sides that â¢*a tribunal composed of squires and clergymen is a serious and great evil, and that the employ- ment bf them as judges in important criminal cases ia fraught with the danger of mal-adminis- tration of the law, and it should be remembered that the gentlemen who are selected as the dis- p-niers of justice in the rural districts are, as a rule, ignorant of the law. Nor is this the only blot upou the system. Every magistrate who sits" in terrible show" is more or less influenced by local traditions and prejudices, and the un- fortunate prisoner who may go contrary to either the one or other must not expect much leniency extended to him. As an example of this, the public press have had, on so many occasions, to record tt-arfuily harsh sentences passed upon old wome n caught gathering two or three sticks from the squire's park, or starving labourers surprised in the act of "annexing," to use a diplomatic expression, a few turnips from an ad- jacent field. Indeed, justices'justice has become a subject of ridicule and reproach thioughout the co Lntry, and the appointment of stipendiary magistrates would most probably be welcomed the most heartily by the great unpaid, whom they would supplant. Fortunately for this dis- trict, such appointments have been made, and the manner in which the business of our police courts is conducted cannot fail to give general satisfac- tion. Such an act of legislation as this, sweeping though it must necessarily be, would have at last one good effect, namely, that of relieving a body of estimable gentlemen from the onerous and thankless duties they are at present called I upon to perform.

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IMOUNTAIN ASH.J

ABERDARE POLICE COURT.