Should a Judge swear at a defendant?

questionA Judge who reflected the words back at a man convicted of racism, after he swore at her while being sentenced, is facing complaints and an investigation by the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO).

In Chelmsford Crown Court a 50-year-old defendant, who had been convicted of making insulting and  racist slurs towards a black Caribbean woman, made matters worse by swearing at the Judge.

The defendant  was in the dock when he told Judge Lynch she was a “bit of a c***”, to which she responded: “You are a bit of a c*** yourself. Being offensive to me does not help.”

Shouting back, the defendant said: “Go f*** yourself,” to which the QC replied: “You too.”

It seems that the Judge has been praised on social media as an “hero” and an “idol” for responding in such an outspoken manner. However, I do not agree that the Judge should be praised. Surely, a Judge should lead by example and swearing at a person in court is not the kind of law-abiding example that should be given. If anything, the Judge’s actions are a disgrace and certainly should not be repeated.

About Dr Peter Jepson

I am the editor of this LawsBlog. On the 31st August 2014, I retired as Head of the Department of Social Sciences at Strode's College, Egham, Surrey. In that post I was responsible for the subject areas of Laws, Politics, Sociology, and Humanities. Prior to that, also at Strode's College, I managed Laws, Politics, Citizenship, the AQA Baccalaureate, and the Extended Project Qualification.
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