Technology 1 — 0 Judge Jeremy Richardson QC
A leading Crown Court judge has been forced to accept that there are limits to his power after a bruising run-in with the computerised voice on a video link.
The dispute between Judge Jeremy Richardson QC and the automated voice arose as he presided over a case at Hull Crown Court involving two prisoners accused of attempting to kill a fellow inmate at HMP Full Sutton. The duo were appearing via video link from, respectively, HMP Frankland in Durham and HMP Whitemoor in Cambridgeshire.
With the court deep in high-level legal debate, proceedings were suddenly interrupted by a loud computerised voice, which stated authoritatively:
“This conference is due to end in two minutes.”
According to the Hull Daily Mail, this made Judge Richardson “visibly angry” and caused him to respond:
“I am not having this court controlled by some disembodied voice that comes through the system. It’s ridiculous. It’s absurd. I am not having time limits put on hearings.”
The automated voice did not reply, remaining silent for some time before suddenly interjecting:
“Your conference is now over. Goodbye.”
At which point a frustrated Judge Richardson ordered the court to rise, demanding to see a court manager as he exited the courtroom, before returning a few minutes later and attempting to reconvene with the announcement:
“It will not happen again.”
But alas, such was the gravitas of the automated voice that the lawyers in the case had assumed that the proceedings really were over — and, unlike the judge, had not returned.
The case will continue later this month.