Council worker becomes Britain’s youngest magistrate

Medway Matters

An 18-year-old from Chatham has become Britain’s youngest magistrate.

Medway Council employee Alex Hyne will sit on the North Kent bench serving Medway and Dartford.

Becoming a magistrate has been a long awaited ambition for the former Bishop of Rochester Academy student, who was subject to a lengthy and thorough application process before being appointed.

He said: “I have always had a passion for my local area and the criminal justice system. I love supporting my community in a positive way, donating any of my free time to empowering people and I love voluntary work. I feel it is my vocation in life to devote myself to public service.

“I felt that there was little diversity on the bench for young people and I wanted to help change this as the magistracy should be representative of the people we have in our local area.

“It’s an exciting time to become a JP as the courts start to use 21st century technology, begin considering new crimes, as well as the implementation of new sentencing powers.”

Sitting in adult courts, he will typically be dealing with summary and either-way offences and has ambitions to one day hear family cases. Alex will not be able to sit on any cases involving Medway Council as he is an employee.

Despite his young age, the former Medway Youth Parliament Chairman feels he is ready to take on such a role of responsibility.

He said: “Not for one moment have I ever underestimated the commitment needed to carry out my duties as a magistrate as well as the responsibility that comes with it. I see my time on the bench as a life-time duty to serving the public and ensuring that justice is dispensed fairly.

“As a young person, I can bring a completely new perspective on crime, can advocate for the young people in North Kent, and contribute some things to sentencing that perhaps the more established magistrates may not have experienced.

“I look forward to learning from other magistrates too.”

Alex will continue in his role at the council within the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Service, which works to protect the human rights and best interests of people who lack mental capacity to make decisions regarding their care.
Alex said: “It is a very rewarding job to help Medway’s most vulnerable adults to live safe and happy lives in our community.”

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Corporate Services Cllr Andrew Mackness said: “This is an excellent achievement and I would like to congratulate Alex. It is wonderful to see such a young man keen to serve the community in both his job at Medway Council and his vocation as a Magistrate serving Medway and Dartford.”
Published on 06/10/2015

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