I’ll Be Judge, I’ll Be Jury
Perhaps Lewis Carroll anticipated the creation of the Judge only courts in Scotland when he wrote his “Mouse’s Tale”:
“Let us both go to law and I will prosecute you. I’ll take no denial. We must have a trial. For really this morning I’ve nothing to do.” The cat said to the mouse that he met in the house.,
“Such a trial, dear Sir, With no jury or judge, would be wasting our breath” said the mouse to the cat.
“I’ll be judge, I’ll be jury,” said the cunning old cat “I’ll try the whole cause, and condemn you to death.”
The cunning old cat might have described Lady Dorrian’s proposals for trials in which a Judge would sit as prosecutor, judge, and jury. Certainly Carroll’s satirical doggerel starkly foreshadows a lack of procedural safeguards, including a probability of bias that a defendant accused of rape or sexual assault in the courts of Scotland should her proposals be implemented.
I am attaching a summary of a report published in the national press some years ago. It refers to England’s judiciary since comparable information is not available in Scotland. But it to be expected that there will be little variance. The incidence of misbehaviour is shocking. Thank goodness defendants are still entitled to be judged by a jury of their peers.
28 Aug 2011: Scandal of the judges who shame justice
A Record number of judges and magistrates were either fired for wrongdoing or resigned while under investigation in the last year.
A total of 29 members of the judiciary were sacked. Offences ranged from “inappropriate behaviour or comments” to professional misconduct or getting into trouble with the law themselves.
Another 25 resigned while under investigation, including two judges, and 18 magistrates.
The total of 54 who left under a cloud is up from 46 in 2009-10 and 43 in 2008-09.
There were almost 500 complaints to the Office of Judicial Complaints about inappropriate behaviour or comments, a rise of 40 per cent in two years. 28 members of the judiciary were also given reprimands by the OJC and another 24 were offered advice, warning or guidance.
Judge George Bathurst-Norman was censured after making anti-Israeli comments during a trial, including comparing the country’s actions to a Nazi regime. His comments came during the trial of defendants accused of sabotaging equipment at a factory which they claimed was making parts for Israeli warplanes. He was reprimanded after it was ruled his comments “could be seen as an expression of the judge’s personal views on a political question”.
Judge Gerald Price resigned during the disciplinary process into claims he had an affair with a male prostitute. The investigation found his actions brought the judiciary into disrepute. It had been alleged that the married QC had a nine-month affair with a £250-a-night rent boy, whom he set up in a flat. It was even said that Mr Price allowed him on the bench during trials.
Another judge was given formal advice after he criticised Britain’s “lax immigration policy” while sentencing a Jamaican drug dealer. Judge Ian Trigger had said: “People like you, and there are literally hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people like you, come to these shores to avail themselves of the generous welfare benefits that exist here.” He was disciplined for “intervening in the political process”.
Coroner Paul Forrest was fired from his position in Avon after being described as exhibiting “high-handed and aggressive” behaviour. Among the magistrates fired was William Stephenson, of Warley, West Midlands. He became the subject of a Police Community Resolution procedure following an allegation of assault on a member of the public. The OJC said he had “failed to display the maturity, sound temperament and judgment required of a magistrate”.