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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 February, 2004, 08:06 GMT
Barrister 'sent to cell' by judge
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A Belfast barrister is under investigation after he was held in a cell for publicly insulting a judge, the BBC has learned.

The lawyer, Michael Kelly, has been reported to the Bar Council, the body which regulates barristers in Northern Ireland.

He ended up in custody in Dungannon Courthouse on Thursday last week after making disparaging comments about the sitting judge, Jeffrey Foote QC.

In a highly unusual move, the judge ordered Mr Kelly to be taken to a cell normally reserved for prisoners.

The Court Service's director of operations, George Keatley, confirmed on Thursday that the judge ordered Mr Kelly to be held for contempt.

Mr Kelly was released after being brought back before the judge who warned him that his behaviour would be reported.

Mr Keatley also confirmed that the judge has ordered that transcripts of the incident should be handed to the Bar Council.

Its chief executive, Brendan Garland, confirmed that the Bar Council has received the correspondence.

Mr Garland said it would be referred to the professional conduct committee, which has the power to discipline barristers for misconduct.

The BBC contacted Mr Kelly's office, but there was no response.

BBC NI's Gerry Bradley reports
"The judge ordered Mr Kelly to be taken to a cell normally reserved for prisoners"

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