Judge to be investigated after outburst

Author: By Jack Doyle, Press Association

Judge Ian Trigger complained that “hundreds and hundreds of thousands” of
illegal immigrants were abusing the benefits system.

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, has referred the outburst to the Office of
Judicial Complaints, to rule on whether it was too political.

A spokesman for the Office for Judicial Complaints said: “The Lord Chief
Justice has decided to refer His Honour 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 July 28 2009.

“The referral is not related to the judge’s comments on the specific case or
the sentence passed.

“The OJC has 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.”

Judge Trigger made his comments as he sentenced a Jamaican man, Lucien
McClearley, for two years for drugs offences at Liverpool Crown Court last
week.

The 31-year-old was arrested by police who found bags of cannabis in his car
in Liverpool on February 15 and cannabis worth £7,200 at his home.

Judge Trigger said: “Your case illustrates all too clearly the completely lax
immigration policy that exists … in this country.

“People like you, and there are literally hundreds and hundreds of thousands
of people like you, come to these shores from foreign countries to avail
themselves of the generous welfare benefits that exist here.

“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 £1 that the decent citizen, who is hard-working, 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 final decision on whether the judge stepped out of line will be made
jointly by Lord Judge and the Lord Chancellor, Jack Straw.

If the complaint is upheld, sanctions available range from guidance to
reprimand or even dismissal.

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