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Last Updated: Friday, 29 July 2005, 07:47 GMT 08:47 UK
Grumpy judge convictions quashed
Royal Courts of Justice
Court of Appeal judges ruled the convictions were unsafe
Three criminal convictions have been quashed because of the trial judge's "irritable" behaviour.

Judge Nicholas Medawar QC rolled his eyes at defence arguments and showed personal animosity towards a barrister, the Court of Appeal heard.

The appeal judges ruled the trials, held at Snaresbrook Crown Court in east London, were not conducted fairly.

Two of the cases have been sent for re-trial while the third conviction was dismissed outright.

'Scorn and derision'

Patrick Bryant, 23, of Islington, north London, was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and jailed for eight years in May last year.

This trial became over-infused with what appears to have been repeated and unnecessary demonstrations of inappropriate personal animosity
Lord Justice Judge

But the appeal court heard how Mr Bryant felt his case was subject to "scorn and derision" from 72-year-old Judge Medawar.

The prosecutor in Mr Bryant's case told the appeal court how Judge Medawar would "roll his eyes, shake his head, throw down his pen or interject with a comment" during the defence case.

Ordering a re-trial on Thursday, Lord Justice Judge said it "was not right" for a trial judge to give the impression he favoured one side over the other.

The ruling comes a week after two other trials presided over by Judge Medawar were called into question.

'Public criticism'

Teacher Angela Lashley, 45, of Hensall Street, Islington, was given community service after being convicted of deception.

The appeal court overturned the conviction and did not order a re-trial, saying Judge Medawar's attitude towards the defence case was "unfair".

Lord Justice Judge said: "This trial became over-infused with what appears to have been repeated and unnecessary demonstrations of inappropriate personal animosity towards counsel which involved public criticism not only of her ability, but also of her integrity."

Trevor Dickens, 39, of Nightingale Lodge, Deansbrook Road, Edgware, was jailed for five years and nine months, after being convicted last February of wounding with intent.

But even before the jury was empanelled, Judge Medawar had concluded his defence was "a complete waste of the court's time," said Lord Justice Judge.

"We are troubled about the way in which this entire case was conducted by the judge, but in particular the peremptory and intemperate language with which he dismissed the defence at the very outset of the trial," he said.

Mr Dickens will face a re-trial.


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