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Judges sacked for watching porn on court computers

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Watchdog acts following “wholly unacceptable conduct for a judicial office holder” by four judges

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Three judges have been removed from office and a further judge has stepped down after allegedly watching porn on court computers

District Judge Timothy Bowles, Immigration Judge Warren Grant and Deputy District Judge and Recorder Peter Bullock have all been removed from their judicial positions, while a fourth judge, Recorder Andrew Maw, opted to resign before the completion of the disciplinary process. If Maw hadn’t quit, the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) said that the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice would have sacked him.

A statement released by the JCIO this morning stated that all four judges had apparently watched pornographic material on court computers. This finding followed an investigation into an allegation that the judges viewed porn on judicial IT equipment in their offices.

The illicit material viewed was not illegal in nature and did not include images of children, with the judges not linked in any way.

Update: 12:20pm — According to The Independent, Judge Bowles was based at Romford County Court in north-east London, Judge Grant worked at the first tier immigration tribunal based at Taylor House in London, Recorder Bullock worked on the North Eastern Circuit and Recorder Maw worked at Lincoln County Court.

READ THE JCIO STATEMENT IN FULL BELOW:

JCIO Press Statement – 4 Judges – 17 March 2015-2

28 Comments

Frisky Hard Disks

Where do these judges sit?

(0)(1)

Anonymous

In a dark room by themselves I presume?

(37)(0)

Chomas Tonnelly

He who comes into equity must come with clean hands…and a box of wet wipes.

(56)(0)

Sir Fapalot

Fuark, dat dere joke.

(1)(5)

Clapham Omnibus Fare Dodger

Puritanism is alive and well. I’m sure if they had been perusing restaurant reviews or kitty cat pictures they wouldn’t have been removed. I doubt this would have been taken to such an extreme in France or elsewhere in Europe.

(14)(1)

UCL law grad

French judges are usually too pissed to get it up, let alone watch internet naughties on the job.

(7)(1)

Daniel Olive

I was wondering why we were reacting so strongly to the private use of IT equipment. We may or may not regard the viewing of pornography, or anything we surmise they did while viewing pornography, as being immoral, but if we do so, we do so out of our own personal prejudices, or reflecting our own private morality (which may be the same thing). There must remain a sphere of private morality, that is not the law’s business. The alternative is that to equate the sphere of crime with sin, an approach discouraged by the Wolfenden Report of 1957, and abandoned by Parliament in 1967.

To impose anyone’s personal morality on judges is improper. These judges viewed material of which some religions would disapprove, and may have engaged in acts of which some religions disapprove. They should not be dismissed for so doing. To do so is to impose some people’s private morality on someone simply because they are a public officer. The principle would allow for judges to have to live within the requirements of the morality of, for example, the Catholic Church, which would greatly lessen diversity on the bench in certain respects.

(10)(7)

Alex R

There is no evidence at all that any of these judges actually shot their muck over this cyberfilth. Could we please maintain perspective here, folks?

(4)(2)

Custard Chucker

Not a word on what goes on at city of westminster mags then?

(1)(1)

Anonymous

Come sun or snow.

(1)(1)

Who Cares

Peter Bullock retired last year so it only stops him from earning pocket money.

Decent bloke and by and large a good judge.

A shame this has been done to shame him in some way as he did nothing illegal and it hurt no-one.

(8)(4)

Daniel Olive

One might wonder how the article 8 interference was necessary in a democratic society.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

It’s about him using court computers for looking at porn, not hi own. Nearly all work places have a policy on porn sites used on their computers.

(0)(1)

Anonymous

Who cares obviously doesn’t care, obviously is a man and is obviously chatting shite

(0)(0)

Not Amused

I don’t like the way Judges are starting to be treated like civil servants.

(9)(3)

Anonymous

The fact of the matter is that these judges have in effect wasted resources and exploited there position by doing so. As the majority of the public are aware the court system has been squeezed dramatically regarding funding and the reality is that a good portion of the courts don’t even have in house IT technicians to deal with the issues rising from old or under equipped systems. These judges have spent time and therefore money in their day using the justice systems resources for personal gratification.
Now I am of the opinion that the expertise and experience these judges posses makes a stronger public policy argument that they be reprimanded not removed. With the system in to he state it is the last thing anyone wants to see is a judge never mind 4 struck off for a faux pas. It’s a harsh reaction to what appears to be a potentially widespread problem. The reaction is understandable but given the climate and the knowledge not to mention money that has gone into training these judges will likely be sorely missed.

(3)(4)

The Wolf

I don’t buy the wasting money point. Judges have a certain amount of work to do – they do that work. If the spend 15 minutes choking the chicken then they spend an extra 15 minutes later in the day doing whatever they put aside so they could beat their meat.

Unless of course they wasted the money in operating the computer for fifteen minutes more than otherwise necessary. Or bandwidth costs. Bah.

If it were ebay instead of porn, nobody would care.

(1)(0)

The Ayatollah Kenobi

So is the Ministry of Justice now going to conduct a review of all of its IT to identify all personnel who have made personal use of their work computers (Facebook, retail websites, etc, etc)? If two of its employees popped to WH Smith during the afternoon during work hours and one purchased Cosmopolitan and the other Playboy, could they justify sacking one and not the other? The press release doesn’t refer to the extent of the misuse and in the absence of extensive misuse removal doesn’t seem necessary or proportionate, compared with the approach taken in other instances of misconduct…

(10)(1)

Anonymous

I discussed this with a colleague who has worked at Romford County Court, I am told that Timothy Bowles always had his office door open so I really don’t think there was any splattering involved! I am saddened to hear how this matter has been handled. DJ Bowles was a brilliant Judge, great at his job and will be sorely missed. I heard some idiot on the news today saying that these judges have brought the profession into disrepute. Says who? Who sets that bar? i am massively disappointed in the way this has been handled. These Judges do not deserve to be treated like this. Their names and the court they were at have been disclosed to the public. It’s unfair, they have been publically humiliated for doing nothing illegal. Disgraceful!

(7)(4)

Rob's knob

What is worse ?

What these have done or an ignorant cretin who takes on a case beyond his abilities, turns up dressed like a plonker and can’t take his dressing down ?

(6)(2)

Mass Turbator

Delivering justice one stroke at a time…

(6)(1)

Mango Weed

I’ve enjoyed reading the comments on the Daily Mail website.

“No wonder tough sentences aren’t imposed, good, hope they are put in front of a Judge which isn’t corrupt, and receive a harsh sentence”

“Call me a cynic but it was probably soft porn, like I suspect their sentencing was”

“you can be certain these upstanding reprobates didn’t go empty handed, I bet they’re laughing all the way to the bank”

(1)(0)

Lawst Cause

I think we can all agree that, regardless of any porn, we’re all wankers.

(4)(0)

Maybe a bit paranoid

It may appear to be a puritanical decision, however has anyone considered that it may be a security risk to use judicial computers to access sites that stream content and may be infected with viruses? Or whether porn sites are more likely than restaurant review sites to contain viruses?

There may be specific policies in place for specific reasons in this regard. What seems unnecessary is the salacious way this has been dealt with. There was no need to shame these men in this way, who have provided years of public service. This seems deliberately targeted to embarrass and undermine the judiciary at a time when the Supreme Court is hearing submissions on the legality of QASA. There was no need to say Judge Maw would have been sacked if he had not resigned.

(1)(1)

Daniel Olive

After several emails, letters and phone calls, I have had a reply from the JCIO, refusing to say whether the dismissal’s were based on the use of porn. It is, the letter says, ‘confidential and therefore not for disclosure.’

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.