Appeal judge who was cleared of flashing on packed commuter train retires at 65

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Lord Justice Richards hangs up his robes


Lord Justice Richards, the judge found not guilty of indecent exposure nearly nine years ago, retired today as a Lord Justice of Appeal.

He is not related to Lord Justice David Richards, who was recently promoted to the Court of Appeal.

Sir Stephen Price Richards, 65, has had a glittering legal career. Appointed when he was still only 46, he served as a judge for more than 18 years but could have remained on the bench until he was 70.

In 2006, Richards quashed the convictions of Ian and Angela Gay, a couple convicted of killing the boy they wanted to adopt with a salt overdose.

In 2000, he turned down an appeal by Sally Clarke against her conviction for murdering her sons. She was eventually cleared in 2003.

But in 2007, a then 56 year-old Richards himself faced trial at the City of Westminster magistrates’ court on two counts of indecent exposure. He was accused of exposing himself to a 20-something-year-old woman on the morning commuter train from Wimbledon to Waterloo.

Richards’s accuser claimed the senior judge flashed her again eight days later, prompting her to make a complaint to the police.

The Oxford grad — who was called to the bar in 1975 — vehemently denied the accusations. He said at the time:

It’s extraordinary for someone to behave in such a fashion on a crowded commuter train and not be observed. I’m a judge and it’s simply not the sort of conduct I would engage in.

Richards was found not guilty on both counts by a bench of three magistrates, after a high-profile two-day trial that saw him hold up a pair of his underpants to show that his preferred style was different from those described by his accuser.

The decision to prosecute him attracted scathing criticism, being described by defence lawyers a “zenith in public dissatisfaction with the criminal justice system”.

Tim Workman, the senior district judge who headed the bench of magistrates that cleared Richards, said that British Transport Police had failed to investigate the allegations promptly or thoroughly. They had not obtained CCTV evidence.

Three years later, Richards was again arrested after a woman in her 30s accused the lawyer of rubbing himself against her on a train. The Crown Prosecution Service decided not to proceed with the case because of insufficient evidence and Richards was never charged or cautioned.

Richards resumed full judicial duties after he was cleared in 2007 and served as Deputy Head of Civil Justice from 2013 until the end of last year.


Not Amused Impersonator

Why was it necessary to include details of both of these allegations if he was found not guilty or not prosecuted on both occasions? Yawn.



This is probably the most puerile example of clickbait on Legal Cheek to date.

The article notes that he had a “glittering legal career”, yet you lead with a headline and opening paragraph about historical allegations he was found not guilty of.

Absolutely pathetic Katie, and whoever your editor is.


Quo Vadis

If the article said that the judge had been accused, but failed to mention the acquittal, I would be spitting feathers too. But surely it is a principle of open justice that the accusation needs to be made public, as well as the acquittal? The alternative would require the entire trial to be held in camera to prevent news of the original accusation from leaking out, in the event of a not guilty verdict being entered.

If the public cannot distinguish an accusation from a finding of guilt, then that is a matter for them. Lord Justice Richards is an innocent man, who has run the gauntlet of an unfounded allegation (and another!). His innocence should be shouted from the rooftops. The only thing left to do is to wish Mr. Richards the very best of wishes for his retirement.


ey you what?

Calm down Katie.



No smoke without fire!



Wrong, friction caused by the rubbing together of 2 sticks causes smoke without fire! So this saying does not clearly reflect the truth. Therefore, based on you use of the saying, there may be an occasion where he is in deed innocent.


RIP Journalism

I’m sorry but usually I make quips about your journalistic style that can be pedantic by my own admission.

However, note the paragraph reading:
“He is not related to Lord Justice David Richards, who was recently promoted to the Court of Appeal.”

Why was this mentioned? Would the average reader have linked the two? Is Richards not a common surname in this country?

Pathetic third rate ‘journalism’. This isn’t the Legal Cheek, it’s the full arse.



I don’t see what’s wrong with distinguishing which of the two CA judges called Richards is being referred to.



This article reveals a lot about you Katie. How low can you go.



“20-something-year-old” Conversational at best, although one dreads to imagine a conversation with KK.



Kanye likes fingers up his bum.

– Kim kardashian



Congratulations Katie, you’ve really fucking excelled yourself this time.




I seriously can’t understand why some of these commentators are so inexplicably and gratuitously nasty to you.

I like you and I like your articles. And even if I didn’t, rather than attempting to needlessly bully and humiliate you, I simply wouldn’t read them.

Keep up the good work and ignore the trolls.



Yeah Katie, you’re actually a top class journalist! Don’t listen to what the *majority* of comments on here say, they’re quite simply wrong…



People are being ‘nasty’ (if that’s the word you care to use) about the standard of journalism on display, because it is dismal.

I don’t know KK. I have no axe to grind with her personally. I’m sure she’s perfectly nice person. Some of the things she has written on here, I like. Some of it is trash. This article falls squarely into the latter, and absolutely deserves to be panned.


Lord Lyle of the Isles

KK. There is a very common psychiatric disorder where the subject obtains gratification through abuse.

Your article is fine. Thank.



As he was cleared, why rake his name through the mud again on his retirement? Cruel, LC, cruel.

What is it they say on acquittal? “You leave this court without a stain on your character”?


Gus the Snedger

Nope, it’s “you leave court without a stain on your trousers”!



Agree that commenters inexplicably like to insult kk. In case you haven’t noticed, this is not the cambridge law review but a gossip site. And in case you’ve never interacted with other humans, someone getting accused twice of a pretty random and specific crime years apart by unrelated accusers IS gossip-worthy.


Just Anonymous

More gutter press reporting from Legal Cheek.

Yes, this place should be irreverent. But can it please retain at least some class and dignity?



A new low for Katie King and Legal Cheek.



Being found not guilty does not mean that he did not do it, it means that he was found not guilty, the two are not the same. I came across this judge a few years ago, I judged him to be a complete liar, so perhaps he was lucky his “preferred pants” not the ones he was actually wearing, got his arse out of that scrape.



Dirty old fucker. Clearly leaving for a semi-retired career in getting his cock out in front of lone female dog walkers and innocent commuters.

I feel sorry for his family.



On crowded commuter trains it is virtually impossible to avoid coming into contact with your neighbouring commuters.

May I also draw your attention to the case reported this week of the man who was alleged to have assaulted a woman on the concourse of Waterloo Station — and was aquitted.

Maybe we should bring back ‘women only carriages’ and women only concourses.



Lone female dog walkers. Do you mean lone walkers with female dogs? Or lone females walking dogs? You should say what you mean and mean what you say.

Can someone with more knowledge than myself, please explain to me, why it is that lone women persist in walking (with or without dogs of any sex) in areas where there have been repeated reports of men exposing themselves?



Some years ago a case came to my notice where a man of low mental capacity was charged and found guilty of placing his hands on a lady’s pubic area on the top deck of a crowded bus. So great was her consternation that she reported the matter two weeks later when she saw him in the street.

It transpired later that the accuser had made many, many, such (and more serious) accusations over the years. But that fact was held not to be a reason in law to allow an appeal or order a retrial.


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