law pages of Bournemouth and Poole College.
The Court of Appeal judge Lord Justice Richards has been charged with two offences of exposure (we reported his arrest in January). He is due to appear in court next week.
This charge is only ‘medium’ on the seriousness indicator but is nevertheless of constitutional significance. Lord Richards is only 56 years old and so nowhere near retirement age. If convicted he might be able to resign (although it is not clear if a Court of Appeal judge can resign), if not it will take a bicameral motion from the Houses of Parliament to remove him from his job. Senior judges are difficult to remove because of the need for them to be independent and to be able to judge without fear. He is not sitting during this enquiry.
The offence is found in the Sexual Offences Act 2003 it is gender neutral (covering exposure of male or female genitalia to a male or female witness, the Act says ‘He’ but in Law ‘He’ includes ‘She’) and carries a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment.
Between 1824 and 2003 it was an offence that could only be committed by a man to a woman. Indecent exposure has a relatively high conviction rate.
Lord Richards is not actually a “Lord”, he is a “Sir” his title as a Court of Appeal judge is Lord Justice of Appeal, he is addressed as “My Lord”. The Law Lords are the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary who sit in the House of Lords. To confuse matters further other judges can sit in the Court of Appeal but are not “Lord Justices of Appeal”, they include: High Court judges, some Crown Court judges (both courts are parts of the Supreme Court of Judicature) all present or former Lord Chancellors (but in practice they don’t) and former Lord Justice of Appeal, provided they are not too old.
We could not resist this new page on the Prime Minister’s website, a tour of number 10 Downing Street. Have you
ever wondered what is behind that black door with the wonky “10″ (it is removed annually for repainting and put back wonky each year)?
Welcome to the 10 Downing Street tour – your chance to take a look behind the most famous front door in the world.