Standard's Tristan Kirk nominated for award over secret justice investigations

Standard Courts Correspondent Tristan Kirk (Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures Ltd)
Standard Courts Correspondent Tristan Kirk (Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures Ltd)

The Standard’s courts correspondent Tristan Kirk has been nominated for a top journalism award for his investigation into the flaws of the single justice procedure.

The secretive court process allows magistrates to hand out convictions for low-level crimes behind closed doors, while freed from the usual scrutiny that comes with open court proceedings.

Kirk has spent several years investigating the injustices in a system that prioritises speed and efficiency over fairness for those accused of minor offences.

His reporting of the procedure — dubbed “conveyor belt justice” — has been included on the long-list of nominees by Private Eye for this year’s Paul Foot Award for Campaigning and Investigative Journalism.

The Standard has exposed the practice of dementia patients and care home residents being criminalised over unpaid car bills, as well as secretive fast-track hearings where vulnerable and mentally ill people are accused of not paying their TV licence.

Kirk’s reporting has also exposed unlawful convictions against children, which were then overturned.

Magistrates themselves accept that the system is broken and in need of reform, while Lord Chancellor Alex Chalk has promised changes.

The winner will be announced at a ceremony on June 11.