A circuit judge has been suspended after allegations by a male prostitute, the Judicial Communications Office announced this afternoon. Judge Gerald Price QC, 60, who is based in South Wales, will not be allowed to sit while a report is prepared for the Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chancellor.
Eight days ago, the News of the World reported that a senior married judge had enjoyed a “secret nine-month fling with a £250-a-night rent boy”.
Judge Gerald Price QC, 60, was so besotted with 25-year-old Christopher Williams he set him up with a FLAT, paid him a monthly ALLOWANCE and let him sit on the bench in court as he presided over TRIALS.
Williams said: “His business is truth but he’s been living a lie.”
It was a classic kiss-and-tell story.
Judge Price grew so obsessed with the rent boy 35 years his junior that he let him sit next to him in COURT while he jailed criminals.
Price gave 25-year-old Christopher Williams unfettered access to three Crown Courts – an abuse of power that will horrify the authorities. The judge also used his experience to help Williams beat a public order rap – at the same time as paying him a monthly £420 for what he called a sex “season ticket”.
For those interested in the details, there is more, much more, in the News of the World.
The newspaper approached Judge Price before publication. He turned to his lawyers — but there seems to have been no attempt to obtain an injunction.
We have tried repeatedly to get Judge Price to account for his behaviour. He denies some of Williams’ claims but won’t volunteer details about their relationship. He feels our probe invades his privacy and, through his lawyers, insisted there is no public interest in our disclosures.
But it appears that Judge Price warned the authorities that the story was about to break.
A Judicial Communications Office spokesman said: “Having been approached by the press, Judge Price has voluntarily provided a detailed account of the circumstances to the senior judiciary. The matter has been referred to the Office for Judicial Complaints to consider whether there has been a breach of discipline.”
That, as I say, was on June 21. According to yesterday’s News of the World, Judge Price did not sit at Swansea Crown Court last week.
This afternoon, Judge Price’s suspension was announced by the Judicial Communications Office.
Having considered the allegations against HH Judge Price, the Lord Chief Justice and Lord Chancellor have decided that he should be suspended pending the outcome of the investigation by the Office for Judicial Complaints into his conduct.
Under section 108 of the Constitutional ReformAct 2005, the Lord Chief Justice may suspend a person from judicial office if “it appears to the Lord Chief Justice with the agreement of the Lord Chancellor that the suspension is necessary for maintaining confidence in the judiciary”.
A circuit judge may be sacked by the Lord Chancellor, though there are new procedures that must now be followed. One circuit judge has been dismissed, in 1983.
A High Court judge may be sacked only on an address of both Houses of Parliament. This has never happened in England and Wales.