Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Judges removed for watching porn

Three judges who allegedly viewed pornography on official IT equipment at work were sacked for "wholly unacceptable" behaviour and a fourth has resigned, the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) has said.

It announced that District Judge Timothy Bowles from Romford County Court, London Immigration Judge Warren Grant and deputy district judge and Recorder Peter Bullock, who worked on the North Eastern Circuit, have been removed from office.

Recorder Andrew Maw, who worked in the Midlands Region, resigned in September, aged 65, before the disciplinary process ended.

A JCIO spokesman said: "The Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice were satisfied that the material did not include images of children or any other illegal content, but concluded that this was an inexcusable misuse of their judicial IT accounts and wholly unacceptable conduct for a judicial office-holder."

Recorder Maw was found to have watched similar "inappropriate" material on his judicial IT account.

The JCIO spokesman added: "The Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice would likewise have removed Recorder Maw had he not resigned before the conclusion of the disciplinary process."

The men were not linked in any way, the JCIO said.

The body said it would not reveal further details of its investigations into the judges' conduct, nor how the allegations against the men came to light, stating this was also confidential.

One of the ex-judges said he had been suffering from "severe and undiagnosed depression" at the time of the allegation.

Mr Grant, who now works as an immigration law specialist at a firm of North London solicitors, issued a statement asking for privacy.

He said: "I do not wish to comment save to say that for some years before, and during, the period covered by the conduct which formed the subject of the complaint laid against me I was suffering from severe and undiagnosed depression.

"I request that the privacy of my family and myself be respected so that we are allowed to continue with our lives."

According to his LinkedIn profile, Mr Grant was educated at the Royal Newcastle Grammar School and Cambridge University, and has an interest in jazz.

Recorder Maw's retirement, was announced on the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary website last year. It said he became a solicitor in 1973 and 10 years later was appointed a Deputy District Judge. He was promoted to Recorder in 2000.

Kenneth Toft, who sits as a London magistrate, said that the use of official IT equipment to view pornography was a waste of public money and time.

He added: "It is a privilege to be part of the judiciary, and that position should not be abused.

"The judges who have been sacked abused the time they were being paid for by wasting it on porn rather than making judicial decisions."

The university lecturer also said that he was surprised that judges, or indeed any person in the public sector, would use their work computer for this purpose.

"It's a schoolboy error, really. Nobody can be foolish enough to think that their work computers are not the property of their employer and as such subject to examination.

"I fear that there are many people in public office deleting their cookies as we speak."

Mr Toft continued: "I don't feel that any member of the judiciary needs guidance as to what is acceptable online viewing.

"Clearly there is a time and a place for everything and your working time or equipment is not it."

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph