British judge who branded defendant 'a bit of a c**t' is cleared of misconduct
A Crown court judge who swore at a defendant has been cleared of a misconduct charge.
Last summer Patricia Lynch QC told offender John Hennigan that he was being sent to prison for breaching an antisocial behaviour order (asbo) when he interrupted her to say: "It’s obvious, isn’t it? Because you’re a c**t and I’m not."
Lynch hit back with: "Well, you’re a bit of a cunt yourself. Being offensive to me doesn’t make things better at all."
Hennigan, 50, replied: "Go fuck yourself," before Lynch finished the exchange with: "You too. Take him down."
The judge's comments prompted about 10 complaints to the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) - especially over her use of the word "c**t".
— CourtNewsUK (@CourtNewsUK) January 9, 2017
Lynch said she regretted her choice of words and apologised "unreservedly".
A JCIO statement said: "Although the lord chancellor and the lord chief justice considered HHJ Lynch’s remarks to be inappropriate, they did not find that they amounted to misconduct or warranted any disciplinary sanction.
"[They] were of the view that the matter should be dealt with by informal advice."
But one of the complainants, Robert Hackett, felt this was not sufficient. "I do feel this has taken an extraordinary amount of time and that the judge has been let off very lightly," he said. "Her behaviour was inexcusable."