Westminster Magistrates' Court

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Westminster Magistrates' Court - Crest.JPG
The new (2011) court building in Marylebone Road incorporates the façade of the old Marylebone Magistrates Court (left)

Westminster Magistrates' Court is a magistrates' court at 181 Marylebone Road, London. The Chief Magistrate of England and Wales, who is the Senior District Judge of England and Wales, sits at the court, and all extradition and terrorism-related cases pass through it. The court opened on 22 September 2011 as a replacement for the City of Westminster Magistrates' Court.

Notable case[edit]

In February 2014 the court made international headlines when a former member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) launched a rare private prosecution bid with the court, which issued a summons to Thomas S. Monson (the then leader of the LDS Church) to answer claims under the 2006 Fraud Act.[1] A church spokesperson characterised the allegations as bizarre, later stating that Monson has no intention of appearing in person at the 14 March hearing. Experts consulted by the press found it highly unlikely that Monson would be extradited from the United States. A former crown prosecutor stated: "I think the British courts will recoil in horror. This is just using the law to make a show, an anti-Mormon point. And I'm frankly shocked that a magistrate has issued it."[2] The person lodging the complaint is the managing editor of "a website highly critical of the church."[3]

John Dehlin stated he believed publicity to be the plaintiff's goal, and that it worked, based on the 800,000 page views to the plaintiff's website on 4 February, a record for that site.[4] Monson did not appear at the 14 March hearing, but instead was represented by legal counsel, who contested the summons.[5] On 20 March 2014, Judge Howard Riddle, chief magistrate in Westminster Magistrates' Court, ruled that the case was "an abuse of the process of the court" and that "the court is being manipulated to provide a high-profile forum to attack the religious beliefs of others".[6][7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Marsden, Richard (5 February 2014), "Mormons' leader ordered to appear at a British court over claims organisation's teachings amount to fraud", Mail Online, Daily Mail
  2. ^ Wagner, Dennis (5 February 2014), "Claims filed vs. LDS Church in U.K.", The Arizona Republic. Reprinted by USA Today and The Washington Post
  3. ^ Bingham, John (5 February 2014), "Head of Mormon church Thomas Monson summoned by British magistrates' court over Adam and Eve teaching", The Daily Telegraph
  4. ^ Stack, Peggy Fletcher (5 February 2014), "Disaffected British Mormon taking LDS prophet to court", The Salt Lake Tribune
  5. ^ Stack, Peggy Fletcher (14 March 2014), "British judge to decide if fraud case against Mormon leader can proceed", The Salt Lake Tribune
  6. ^ Stack, Peggy Fletcher (20 March 2014), "British judge tosses fraud case against Mormon prophet", The Salt Lake Tribune
  7. ^ Walch, Tad (20 March 2014), "British judge rejects case, calls it an 'attack' on LDS", Deseret News

Coordinates: 51°31′15″N 0°09′52″W / 51.5207°N 0.1644°W / 51.5207; -0.1644