A district judge has been removed from office in the first judicial sacking since 1983. The Office for Judicial Complaints said yesterday that Margaret Short, who was appointed to the South East District Bench in 1993, has been removed following an investigation into ?inappropriate behaviour?.
A statement said the investigation ?found that her behaviour had been inappropriate, petulant and rude with regard to one incident, and intemperate and ill-judged with regard to another.?
Other criticisms of Judge Short?s conduct included ?taking annual leave when she was asked specifically not to; failing on request to hand over court documents central to the investigation combined with a refusal to co-operate with it, thereby contributing significantly to the time the disciplinary process has taken; and failing to deal with the substantive issues or to exercise sound judgement when responding to the complaints. This included making serious allegations against support staff which were not only untrue but which it was found she knew to be untrue.?
The investigation was initiated under disciplinary proceedings existing before the creation of the Office for Judicial Complaints. In 1983, Judge Bruce Campbell was removed for smuggling alcohol and tobacco on his private yacht.