Judge Triggers Complaint

A judge who reportedly complained about Britain’s “completely lax immigration policy” has been referred to the body that deals with complaints against the judiciary.

Judge Trigger made the reported remarks last week when imprisoning a Jamaican for drugs offences.

A spokesman for the Office for Judicial Complaints said:

The Lord Chief Justice has decided to refer HH Judge Trigger to the Office for Judicial Complaints, following comments the judge made in open court in the sentencing of Lucien McClealey at Liverpool Crown Court on 28 July 2009. The referral is not related to the judge’s comments on the specific case or the sentence passed.

The Office for Judicial Complaints have been asked to focus on the propriety of the judge’s statements and assertions, and whether they went beyond the facts of the case and extended overtly into the political arena.

According to a report first published in the Liverpool Daily Echo, Judge Trigger told the defendant: “Your case illustrates all too clearly that completely lax immigration policy which exists and has existed over recent years in this country.

“People like you come to these shores from foreign countries to avail themselves of the generous welfare benefits which exist here.”

He added: “In the past 10 years, the national debt of this country has risen to extraordinary heights, largely because central government has wasted billions and billions of pounds.

“Much of that has been wasted on welfare payments. For every pound the decent citizen pays in taxes in this country, nearly 10% goes on servicing that national debt.

“That is twice the amount it was in 1997 when this government came to power.”

The defendant, whose name appears as McClearley in all press reports and as McClealey in today’s statement, arrived in the UK in November 2001 legally on a visitor’s visa, but was arrested in October 2002 after overstaying his stay.

He then appealed for asylum and was released while his application was pending, allowing him to “disappear from the radar”.

Neil Cobley, defending, said his client, who admitted taking a vehicle without consent, possessing cannabis and cocaine and possessing a class B drug with intent and two counts possessing false identity documents, simply wanted “employment”.

The Office for Judicial Complaints will start by obtaining a transcript of the judge’s remarks. Officials will prepare a report for the Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chancellor, who will decide between them what further action may be needed.

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