The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office were wrong to admonish Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC for showing compassion and humanity to victim of convicted paedophile.
On Friday it emerged that a judge who had offered to pay the victim surcharge on behalf of the defendant himself was admonished for having failed to show impartiality and was given ‘formal advice’ by the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office to that effect.
The Law Society Gazette reported “The lord chancellor and lord chief justice ‘considered this failed to demonstrate impartiality, and that his (His Honour Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC) comment amounted to misconduct’, the JCIO said. Hall has been issued with formal advice”.
Judge punished for offering to pay child abuse victim’s court fine
As someone who has had intimate dealings with the case from 2009, I can assure the reader, that instead of admonishments, His Honour Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC should have been praised for showing compassion and understanding to the defendant. Although she was guilty of a serious offence, she was also a victim of the leniency shown to her attacker by the legal system for over seven years.
In 2009, I acted as an appropriate adult for the then 8 year old victim and supported the family throughout their horrendous experience to secure justice for the victim, which spanned two and a half years.
After a much fought for guilty verdict, despite a concerted campaign of harassment and intimidation to stop the family from testifying at court, the now convicted paedophile was allowed to return back to the same address as before, next door to his victim, who was by now 10 years old. Many in the community therefore believed that he had been acquitted and that the victim and her mother had lied about the whole saga. The family of the paedophile set about making the lives of the victim and her family living hell.
The close knit Pakistani community turned against them, and her older siblings would be regularly taunted by their school friends for having a ‘slag as a sister’ which led to huge long term emotional and behavioural problems for all the family.
After a year of this torment, the victim and her entire family were forced to uproot and relocate many miles away from the crime scene. To date, the paedophile remains in the same home in which he carried out his crimes.
There was a chronic and systemic failure of all the services that should have helped this child for years. The social services did not put any safe guards in place even after her attacker was convicted. He was allowed to continue to live next door as well as with his own children which included two daughters of a similar age to the victim. The housing association, to which many complaints were made, ignored the pleas of the mother to rehouse the paedophile; instead they offered to relocate the mother which reinforced the notion amongst the community that the mother and victim were the guilty party.
The front doors of the semi-detached properties were next to one another, and the attacker would sit on a chair outside his front door and swear loudly at the victim and her mother, calling them ”whores, slags and prostitutes” daily. The police, instead, would accuse the mother of the victim of making up lies and issue her with harassment warnings while no punishments would be given to the attacker.
The family were unable to leave their home without incident, so the mother became a recluse and suffered a nervous breakdown, something the young victim felt great guilt for.
There are of course, many other incidents, but I am sure you get the gist of what it was like for this young girl.
Even after she relocated, she was forced to return back to the same area after her secondary school relocated their building there. She was back to being only two streets away from her attacker, whose own teenage son now attended the same school. After her new school friends found out about her history, she was taunted daily for being ‘dirty, used, unclean’ by members of the attacker’s family and friends. She got into regular fights and was eventually excluded permanently. She would go on to be excluded from a number of other schools for her acute emotional and behavioural problems.
By now, her ambitions of going to university and getting a degree were in ruins and her relationship with her mother and other family members fraught. She was isolated and vulnerable. Eventually, she snapped, feeling that she was denied justice first time round, took a large knife and plunged it into her attacker.
She then handed herself into the local police station, telling them she had killed her attacker. He, of course, survived and now lives with a scar which he has to see every time he goes to the toilet.
I was asked to act as an appropriate adult again for the now-defendant, who was charged with attempt murder, later reduced to GBH with intent to wound.
The system failed the young child first time round in giving her attacker a suspended sentence. The only thing His Honour Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC is guilty of is recognising this fact and trying to make amends to the young victim who will never be able to recover her childhood or undo the damage being a victim of her paedophile attacker brought to her life.
His Honour Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC should in fact be commended and I intend to write to Judicial Conduct Investigations Office to express this view.
Tags: Judicial Conduct Investigations Office JCIO Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC Paedophile Sexual Abuse Pakistani community