Wednesday, August 06, 2008


Judge Judge 'Firm but Fair' or Something less than the Latter?

Private Eye is none too impressed by the appoinment of Judge Igor Judge[whose name conjures up thoughts of 'Major Major Major in Catch 22] as the head of the judiciary, Lord Chief Justice. The Times welcomed him as 'independent minded and humane' and the Sun 'tough but fair. The Eye points out this was the man who, when a QC defended the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad prosecuted Derek Treadaway,someone who served 13 years before being freed when it was discovered detectives in the squad had used plastic bags over his head to obtain his 'confession' for armed robbery.

Given that barristers are merely 'taxis for hire' as Rumpole used to say, this might be seen as merly criticising someone for doing their job. But his sentencing of Gwen Tucker for six months for receiving £67 a week when on benefit even though she was a mother of three whose husband had left her, seemed a tad wide of the 'firm but fair' enconium, one has to say. The Eye often picks up stories which fall below the mainstream radar until they suddenly break forth, as in the case of John Bourn and his royal level expenses. It remains to be seen if their typically acidic review of a publicfigure is based on more than knee-jerk anti-establishmentism.

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