A total of three judges have been fired — and a fourth resigned before the axe could fall — after they were found to be viewing adult video on their work computers, in their judicial offices. The firings took place in the United Kingdom and were made public this week — but the judges were not accused of doing anything illegal.
Britain’s Judicial Conduct Investigations Office, however, condemned the adult video viewing habits of the three judges, calling their behavior, “wholly unacceptable conduct for a judicial office holder,” and an “inexcusable misuse” of the internet service provided to them for official business.
The investigators concluded that none of the judges used their online work accounts to view “images of children or any other illegal content,” the Judicial Conduct Office said in a statement.
District Judge Timothy Bowles, Immigration Judge Warren Grant and Deputy District Judge and Recorder Peter Bullock and the fourth man, Recorder Andrew Maw were also not found to have any connections to one another — outside of the fact that they were all judges.
Maw turned in his gavel before any disciplinary action could be taken against him. The other three were handed pink slips.
According to legal experts, to remove a judge from the bench is extremely rare in the U.K.. In fact, BBC legal analyst Clive Coleman called it “unprecedented,” raising the question of whether the judges conduct truly merited such an extreme disciplinary action.
“For three judges, albeit pretty junior ones, to be sacked at the same time represents a serious blow to the reputation of the judiciary. However, there is no suggestion that any of the sacked judges did anything illegal in accessing pornography via their judicial computers. Had they done the same thing at home there would have been little basis for dismissing them.”
Their alleged wrongdoing, he added, was nothing more than using their work internet privileges for a purpose that their bosses deemed inappropriate.
Only one of the fired judges has commented publicly on the firing. Grant, who now works as an immigration lawyer in private practice, blamed his lapse in conduct on psychological issues.
“For some years before, and during, the period covered by the conduct which formed the subject of the complaint laid against me I was suffering from severe and undiagnosed depression,” Grant said — going on to request “that the privacy of my family and myself be respected so that we are allowed to continue with our lives.”
Of the three fired judges, it appears that only one, Andrew Maw, was senior enough to retire, which he did, complete with pension. Note that the judges in the above stock image are not the same three judges who were fired.
[Stock Image: Oli Scarff/Getty Images]