monday, 10 september of 2012

Judge Peter Bowers to face investigation over comment

"A huge amount of courage"

Judge Peter Bowers to face investigation over comment

A judge who said burglary needed "a huge amount of courage" will be investigated after members of the public contacted the Office for Judicial Complaints to vent their anger at his remarks.

Judge Peter Bowers admitted he might be "pilloried" when he spared the burglar jail at Teesside Crown Court on Tuesday.

The case caused an outcry, with the Prime Minister commenting that burglars were not brave but "cowards" and their crimes were "hateful".

A spokesman for the Office for Judicial Complaints said: "The Office for Judicial Complaints has received a number of complaints in relation to comments that His Honour Judge Bowers made in relation to a case in Teesside Crown Court on September 4 2012.

"Those complaints will be considered under the Judicial Discipline Regulations in the usual way. It would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage."

Judge Bowers' conduct will be investigated by the OJC and if complaints are upheld the case will be passed to the Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chancellor, who will consider if disciplinary action is needed.

They have the power to advise, warn, reprimand or remove a judge for misconduct.

Judge Bowers told an offender who raided three homes in five days: "It takes a huge amount of courage, as far as I can see, for somebody to burgle somebody's house. I wouldn't have the nerve."

Handing 26-year-old Richard Rochford, of Westbourne Grove, Redcar, a suspended 12-month term, the judge said: "I'm going to take a chance on you."

The judge also claimed jail would not do much good in this case.

After acknowledging the trauma burglary victims face, the judge explained he would not jail Rochford, who had quit drugs since the February break-ins.

He must complete a two-year supervision order with drug rehabilitation and 200 hours' unpaid work, with a one-year driving ban.

(Published by Gazette Live - September 6, 2012)

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