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Judge who popped out of court for sandwich ‘rugby tackled’ to floor by litigant

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Assailant has now been sentenced to five months for bruise-inducing assault

A litigant has been sentenced to 20 weeks in prison after he assaulted a judge, causing bruises and scratches. Taking the whole thing remarkably well, the circuit judge said the incident was something that “goes with the territory” of the job.

Judge Robin Tolson likened the assault to “an unexpected rugby tackle you didn’t see coming”, The Times reporting the aggrieved divorce litigant had run across the road, collided with the judge and knocked him against a shop front and then the floor. Again according to the report, Kevin Robinson, the 44-year-old defendant, then rolled a cigarette and said: “Finally, I’ll get a new judge then.”

The assault took place last month outside the Central Family Court near Chancery Lane station, the site for a number of celebrity divorces including: singer Cheryl Tweedy, Mr Bean actor Rowan Atkinson, heiress Petra Ecclestone, ex-footballer Ryan Giggs and celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal. Tolson had been hearing Robinson’s divorce case for a number of years before the October run-in, which Robinson claimed was an accident. He was found guilty of assault by beating at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court.

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Tolson was made a circuit judge when Chris Grayling was Lord Chancellor, having been a silk at St John’s Chambers in Bristol.

Readers may remember him as the judge who presided over Owens v Owens, a case involving a divorce petition made by a woman in her late sixties on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour. She said her husband suffered mood swings which caused “distressing” and “hurtful” arguments between them. Tolson said this was not good enough to amount to unreasonable behaviour, describing the petitioner’s allegations as “minor altercations of a kind to be expected in a marriage”. The couple still remain married; the case is now pending in the Supreme Court.

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