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Dotun-Adebayo
May God be my 'black' judge

RARE: Black British judges, like Constance Briscoe above, are few and far between

IS ANYONE surprised by the latest findings showing that there are virtually no black judges in the British judicial system apart from one or two part-timers and a couple of other lower rankers?

According to the Society of Black Lawyers, it's the selection process that is at fault. It's the old school tie mentality. Judges select themselves. Or more accurately, they select people who are like them - white, male and elitist.

It's the same in every top ranking level of society. Head teachers, Chief Constables, university Vice-Chancellors (I could go on and on...) the message is the same - if you're white you're all right, if you're brown stick around, if you're black - hit the road, Jack.

The Society of Black Lawyers is outraged. They have not even been consulted by the House of Lords inquiry into this institutionalised racism within the legal system. That's how much those peers in the 'other House' think of them. God-fearing, law-abiding black parents are equally demoralised, believing that somehow justice will be better served if the complexion of the presiding judges reflected the society we live in. Funnily enough black villains are of that opinion too.

CIRCUMSTANCES

They also believe that if the judge was to understand and consider the extenuating circumstances of being born poor and black and ignorant in this racist society, he would hand down a probationary sentence or a couple of weeks picking up rubbish on the streets of New York like Boy George.

Personally, I'm not so sure if having black judges means more lenient (fairer) sentences for black crooks. If the evidence of the 'Judge Dreads' of the Caribbean and Africa are anything to go by, a black judge is more likely to chastise a black defendant than a white judge. The black judge takes it personally that a felon has let not just himself and his family down, but the entire African diaspora. And consequently they are likely to sentence a bruvva to death for not being suitably attired for the hearing, if only the law would allow it.

But this is not about getting more black bums (that's not a nice way to talk about m'lud, Adebayo - Ed.) onto the presiding bench. Where this argument leads ultimately, is to the question of whether a black person can ever be judged without prejudice in a courtroom presided over by a white man.

I'm not so sure. My experience of court is that as much as the judges only select people like themselves to become judges, when we're in the dock they see the diametrically opposite from who they are and that affects their judgment.

The only white man whose judgment I am willing to trust unquestionably is God. Apart from Him, let a black man be my judge.

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