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Behaviour of judge who fell asleep during trial ‘amounts to misconduct’ as he apologises amid unremitting workload
30 August 2023, 14:56 | Updated: 30 August 2023, 14:58
A judge who fell asleep during a court hearing has been issued with ‘formal advice for misconduct’.
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His Honour Michael Slater, a circuit judge, received the formal advice after it was found his behaviour amounted to misconduct by the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO).
It was not disclosed what the ‘formal advice’ he was given said.
The JCIO said judges were expected to show diligence and care carrying out their duties and had to ensure their conduct maintained and enhanced public confidence in their judiciary.
Slater accepted the allegation and apologised - he also addressed the matter with the parties in court and offered them a retrial but they did not take up the offer.
A judge who was nominated to investigate the matter took into consideration Slater’s admission and acknowledged that he had been dealing with the pressure of an ‘unremitting workload’, adding that his behaviour had not derailed the trial.
The lord chief justice and the lord chancellor agreed to issue formal advice to him.
Slater was appointed to be a circuit judge in November 2016 and was deployed to the north eastern circuit at Sheffield Combined Court.
And this isn’t the first time a judge has been issued with formal advice for falling asleep in trial.
In 2019, a senior judge in the family division received the same advice after she ‘momentarily’ fell asleep.
The judge “expressed remorse” after she was investigated following a complaint from the parties in the case.
The JCIO said at the time: "While concluding that this amounted to conduct which had the potential to undermine public confidence in the judiciary, the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice took into consideration that the judge fell asleep only momentarily and has expressed remorse for doing so."