‘Donkeys’ and ‘trolls’: Judge sacked for using alias to criticise online commenters who disagreed with his decisions

Avatar photo

By Thomas Connelly on

Jason Dunn-Shaw says he will appeal the decision

A judge who used a pseudonym to call online commenters “donkeys” and “trolls” has been removed from the bench by the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO).

Jason Dunn-Shaw, a part-time recorder who sat at Canterbury Crown Court, used the alias ‘Querelle’ to hit back at online commenters who criticised his professional decisions.

According to KentOnline, Dunn-Shaw — who is also a criminal barrister at Maidstone Chambers — presided over a case where a woman avoided going to prison for her involvement in a serious car accident. Criticising his seemingly lenient sentence, a flurry of negative comments from members of the public appeared on the website’s coverage of the story.

Attempting to justify the decision, Dunn-Shaw posted comments on KentOnline in support of himself and branded those who disagreed with his sentence as “donkeys”. Dunn-Shaw reportedly said he had no involvement in the posting of these comments and that it was “likely” his boyfriend’s doing.

In another case, Dunn-Shaw was representing defendants accused of fraud. Using his alias, the experienced barrister posted comments on the local news website which went into great detail about the circumstances surrounding the case. It was at this point that a relative of the fraud victim issued a complaint to the JCIO.

In a statement released yesterday, the judicial watchdog confirmed that Dunn-Shaw had been “removed” from the bench. A spokesperson for the JCIO said:

Recorder Jason Dunn-Shaw was subject to a conduct investigation for using a pseudonym to post comments (some of which were abusive) on a newspaper website about a case in which he had been a judge and another in which he had been a barrister… The Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice concluded that this behaviour fell below the standard expected of a judicial office holder and have removed Mr Dunn-Shaw from judicial office.

Dunn-Shaw has confirmed he will appeal the decision.

For all the latest commercial awareness info, and advance notification of Legal Cheek’s careers events, sign up to the Legal Cheek Hub here.