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Sussex magistrate sacked after admitting knowing dope smokers
A magistrate says she has been removed from the bench after telling her bosses people she knew smoked cannabis.
Sarah McDonagh, who sat on the West Sussex bench covering Worthing and Chichester, last week learnt that she was permanently sacked as a magistrate.
She said she told colleagues some people close to her had dabbled in cannabis and claimed this led to her being told to leave the magistracy.
However, the Office for Judicial Complaints said Mrs McDonagh was unable to demonstrate some of the key qualities required of a magistrate and recommended that she be removed from the magistracy.
Mrs McDonagh, of Yapton, near Arundel, said she informed the bench she knew people who had used cannabis and problems had occurred since then.
She said the people involved who smoked the class B drug had not been convicted of any offence and she herself had never taken any illegal substances.
The 65-year-old said: “I thought I was doing the right thing. They said I was not allowed to sit while that situation was going on.”
Mrs McDonagh said she informed colleagues she had cut contact with the people involved but was still banned.
A spokesperson for the Office for Judicial Complaints said: “Mrs McDonagh, a magistrate appointed in May 2006 to the West Sussex Bench, has been removed from the magistracy following a Review Body hearing convened to consider her suitability to hold judicial office.
“The Review Body found Mrs McDonagh was unable to demonstrate some of the key qualities required of a magistrate and recommended she be removed from the magistracy.
“The Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chancellor accepted the recommendation of the Review Body and have removed Mrs McDonagh from the magistracy.”
In 2009, the Office for Judicial Complaints said she “demonstrated a lack of judgement in her personal dealings with the police and her local bench”.
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