Magistrate resigns after paying destitute asylum seeker’s court fine

A senior magistrate who pulled £40 from his own shirt pocket to pay the court fine for a destitute asylum seeker has resigned his position, after being suspended by authorities for the good deed.

Professional organist Nigel Allcoat, a magistrate for 15 years, said he was despairing at the mounting fines and costs being accrued by an asylum seeker at Leicester magistrates court.

“As a magistrate, my job is to prevent more crime, but now the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) would have me sent to traitor’s gate,” he said. “But it is something I take very seriously.”

The 65-year-old magistrate said the young man in his 20s had appeared before him in early August having defaulted on his fine, and had to also pay £180 in mandatory court charges, under legislation introduced late in the last parliament by the former justice secretary, Chris Grayling.

Allcoat said he had been deeply affected by images of refugees facing riot police in Hungary. “These people have travelled for hundreds of miles to reach us, I wanted to show what British justice meant, to show him the character of this country is actually compassionate.”

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