High Court judge ‘kissed on the cheek’ during Middle Temple Lane robbery, court hears

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By Thomas Connelly on

Sir Robin Knowles QC was allegedly mugged by man clutching champagne bottle stolen from chambers

A top judge who was the victim of a mugging just a stone’s throw from the Royal Courts of Justice received a kiss on the cheek courtesy of the thief, a court has heard.

Terry Brown, 45, from Bethnal Green, London, is accused of mugging Sir Robin Knowles CBE QC at approximately 9.30pm on 27 September last year. Brown allegedly told the top judge to hand over cash while he was making his way home along the historic Middle Temple Lane.

Now, in an incredibly bizarre twist to this sorry tale, the Evening Standard is reporting that Knowles “appears to have been kissed on the cheek by the mugger as he fled.”

Prosecutor Michael Williams told Inner London Crown Court that Knowles, a High Court judge in the Queen’s Bench Division since 2014, was approached by a man “holding a champagne bottle by its neck” and told to hand over his wallet.

Having parted with around £140 in cash, the Cambridge-educated judge reportedly told the court earlier today:

I did the calculation that the best thing for me to do was to produce my wallet rather than arguing or trying to run. I felt under a very real threat that the bottle would be used to hit me and I’m fully aware of how devastating the injury that type of action could cause. I was pretty focused on that danger.

Incredibly, Knowles — who was a barrister at South Square Chambers, where he specialised in financial law, contract law and company law — then helped the mugger escape after he was unable to get through the security gate that leads out onto The Strand.

But the bizarre story doesn’t stop there. According to the report, it is also claimed that Brown stole the champagne bottle he was clutching during the mugging from Lamb Building chambers earlier that same evening.

Williams told the court a man was caught on CCTV entering the long-established common law set, where barristers and clerks were enjoying a seminar and drinks reception. Having apparently been spotted grabbing a coat, he was then confronted by a member of staff.

Continuing, Williams told the court:

He said ‘I’m the cleaner’, but she knew the cleaner and called him into the room. At this point the man’s story changed, and instead of being the cleaner he tried to suggest he was looking for work as a cleaner. At that point he was told no, and the male was seen leaving the chambers holding what appears to be a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine.

Brown, who was not present in court, denies robbery and burglary. The trial continues.

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