Two judges have been disciplined for misconduct this week by the lord chancellor and lord chief justice. In one instance, the judge was found to have accessed case records relating to someone he was giving evidence against.
His Honour Judge Jeremy Lea was the subject of a disciplinary investigation after he accessed digital records relating to a criminal case without legitimate reason. According to a statement from the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office, the case concerned an individual who was subject to separate criminal proceedings in which HHJ Lea was the sole prosecution witness.
The lord chancellor and the lord chief justice concluded that the judge’s actions amounted to misconduct, and after accepting significant personal mitigating circumstances and that there was no interference by HHJ Lea in the case accessed, issued him with formal advice.
Meanwhile, His Honour Judge Dight was issued with formal advice following complaints of a serious delay in producing a judgment. It was concluded that the delay was unacceptable and that HHJ Dight's behaviour amounted to misconduct having fallen below the standards expected of a member of the judiciary.
So far this year 14 judges and magistrates have been disciplined. Ageist comments, inappropriate language and political social media posts have all resulted in sanctions.