Published: 13:50, 26 January 2015
A magistrate who was suspended after questioning whether a same-sex couple would be the best choice of parents for adopted children is still waiting to return to court despite completing an equality course.
Richard Page, of Headcorn, was found guilty of severe misconduct by Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling and suspended from sitting in family court after he made the comments to colleagues during an adoption case.
The 68-year-old Christian said in his opinion, it was natural and in the interests of a child to be brought up by a mother and father. Specific details of the case cannot be reported for legal reasons.
Mr Page, who made the comments behind closed doors, said his two fellow magistrates disagreed with him but there was no suggestion they had taken it further.
"The point of having three magistrates is so that we can all bring our own experience and opinions to the table" - Richard Page
But a week later, he received an email from the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office saying he had been reported for prejudice.
The NHS manager, who has been a magistrate on the Central Kent Bench covering Maidstone and Sevenoaks for 15 years, was told he would not be allowed to return to family court until he had undergone training in equality law, which he completed last week.
However, a Ministry of Justice spokesman was this week unable to confirm when the father-of-three will be allowed to return to the courtroom.
Mr Page, who has himself been a foster parent, said: “The point of having three magistrates is so that we can all bring our own experience and opinions to the table when considering cases."
He added: “I expressed my views based on my beliefs and was shocked to hear of the complaint.
"Often magistrates disagree and the view of the majority is taken but you forget about it when you leave court – something you are told to do."
He added that he will not allow the incident to affect his judgement in future, and said: “I have been a magistrate for 15 year without incident and won’t change the way I look at cases now.”
However, he has been told that in future if he finds his religious beliefs may affect his judgement he can remove himself from the case in question.