Man jailed for court judge attack
A fitness instructor who attacked a judge and knocked off his wig has been jailed for 18 months after admitting contempt of court.
Paul Graham, 27, of Quendon Place, Haverhill, Suffolk, raced from the public gallery and vaulted over a gate to get behind the judge's bench before throwing punches at Judge John Devaux in court two at Ipswich Crown Court on Monday.
Judge Devaux had just sentenced his brother, Philip Graham, 30, of the same address, to 30 months in prison for causing death by dangerous driving.
Appearing in handcuffs and wearing a black vest top before Judge David Goodin on Tuesday morning, Paul Graham admitted contempt. He was flanked in the dock by three security guards throughout the hearing and an extra guard stood by the exit.
Judge Goodin described how the High Sheriff of Suffolk Sir Edward Greenwell and a local clergyman who had been sitting alongside Judge Devaux "did their best to bring the attack to an end". Police officers in the case managed to restrain Paul Graham before security guards led him away.
He said: "When the judge had passed the inevitable sentence of imprisonment, you left the public gallery at speed, travelled down the side of the court very fast, vaulted over the wooden gate at the side of the bench, physically attacked Judge Devaux by punches which actually caused no physical injury," he said.
"That conduct was disruptive, insulting and intimidating. It was a contempt of court. We have in this country courts which are open to the public, but what you did was an attack on justice, on the administration of justice, an attack on the rule of law. Any violent physical attack on the judge or any member of court staff or officer of the court must be dealt with severely."
Richard Potts, mitigating, said his client did not accept he threw punches but accepted there had been a struggle and that he had behaved in an intimidating manner.
He added: "He has instructed me to apologise unreservedly on his behalf. He is a physically fit man and had he really wished to do real physical harm, there is no doubt he could have done so. It was a spontaneous act borne out of high emotion. It was an outpouring of grief.
Philip Graham was convicted after a trial earlier this year of killing father-of-two Derek Foster, 37, when his car hit the victim's motorcycle on the B1054 in July last year. Mr Foster's widow and family were in court at the time of the attack.