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Joshua Rozenberg
Thursday 10th June 2010
Cherie Booth Cleared

Cherie Booth QC has been cleared of allegations of judicial misconduct.

Here's today's statement from the Office for Judicial Complaints.

After receiving a number of complaints about comments reportedly made by Cherie Booth QC in her capacity as a Recorder, in connection with the trial of Shamso Miah, the Office for Judicial Complaints investigated the matter in accordance with the Judicial Discipline (Prescribed Procedures) Regulations 2006 (as amended). That investigation has concluded and found that Recorder Booth's observations did not constitute judicial misconduct.

The Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice have considered the conclusions of the investigation and agree that no disciplinary action is necessary.

It was reported in February that the former prime minister's wife told Miah that she would suspend his prison sentence because he was a "religious man".

Miah, a devout Muslim, had been convicted of breaking a man's jaw with two punches after a dispute in a bank queue in East Ham, London. The 25-year-old had gone to the bank from a local mosque.

Miss Booth appeared to indicate that she was taking into account Miah's religious beliefs as she opted for a lenient sentence.

"I am going to suspend this sentence for the period of two years based on the fact you are a religious person and have not been in trouble before," she told him at Inner London Crown Court.

"You caused a mild fracture to the jaw of a member of the public standing in a queue at Lloyds Bank. You are a religious man and you know this is not acceptable behaviour."

The National Secular Society had lodged an official protest with the Office for Judicial Complaints, claiming that Miss Booth was effectively discriminating against atheists.

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About Joshua Rozenberg

Joshua Rozenberg is an independent legal commentator who presents Law in Action on BBC Radio 4.

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