Judge who branded abusive defendant ‘a bit of a c**t’ cleared of misconduct

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By Thomas Connelly on

Judicial Conduct Investigations Office will not take formal action against Judge Patricia Lynch QC


A female judge who branded an abusive defendant “a bit of c**t” has been cleared of wrongdoing by a judicial watchdog.

Back in August 2016 Judge Patricia Lynch QC, sitting at Chelmsford Crown Court, entered into a sweary back and forth with defendant John Hennigan.

Appearing in the dock having been accused of breaching his anti-social behaviour order (ASBO), Hennigan — who has 23 convictions to his name — told Lynch that she was “a bit of a c**t”. Keen to reciprocate in vernacular familiar to Hennigan, Lynch responded:

You are a bit of a c*** yourself. Being offensive to me doesn’t help.

Despite overwhelming public support, not everyone was impressed with the judge’s c-bomb.

Less than two days after the incident, Legal Cheek reported that the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) had received around ten complaints regarding Lynch’s colourful language.

Fast forward five months and, according to The Guardian, the JCIO has now confirmed it will not be taking formal action against Lynch. In a statement sent to one of the complainants, the JCIO 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.

Lynch — who later apologised for her remarks — has now been been advised to respond “appropriately to parties in court at all times”. Even if they are c**ts.

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