Police refuse to say why high-profile judge Constance Briscoe arrested
PUBLISHED October 10, 2012
Constance Briscoe, one of the first black women to sit as a judge in Britain, was arrested at her south London home at the weekend.
She has been released on bail and suspended from the judiciary while the investigation against her continues.
However in an unusual move neither Kent Police nor the Office for Judicial Complaints would say anything about the allegations against her.
Miss Briscoe, who grew up in south London, studied law at Newcastle and was called to the bar in 1983. She worked as a criminal lawyer before being appointed a crown court recorder in 1996. She has worked as a specialist rape prosecutor and is a barrister at 9-12 Bell Yard chambers.
But she is best known for her private life. In 2006 she published an autobiography, called Ugly, in which she claimed she had attempted suicide by drinking bleach and had been abused as a child by her parents.
She said her stepfather had burned her hand with a cigarette, leading him to be taken to court, and accused her mother of attacking her with a knife and making disparaging comments about her appearance, which led to her undergoing plastic surgery.
It led to the spectacle of Miss Briscoe's mother, Carmen Briscoe-Mitchell, suing her daughter for libel over the "misery memoir", but after a bitter court hearing a jury rejected her claim. Last year it emerged that her mother was in danger of losing her home over the £500,000 legal costs incurred in the case.
Earlier this year it was reported Miss Briscoe had split up with her QC boyfriend, Anthony Arlidge, in September 2010. He is now in a relationship with an Oxford graduate 50 years his junior.
The judge, now 55, called her partner of 12 years "bonkers" for leaving her, and that the situation was "ridiculous".
It has now emerged that on Saturday, Miss Briscoe was arrested at her £1million house in Clapham.
She was questioned by officers from Kent Police and released on bail to return at an unspecified date.
Kent Police said in a statement: "A 55-year-old woman was arrested in Clapham (south London) on Saturday October 6. She was interviewed by officers and then bailed pending further inquiries."
But a spokesman for the force refused to state on what grounds she had been arrested.
The Office for Judicial Complaints also said in a statement: "The Lord Chief Justice and Lord Chancellor have suspended Constance Briscoe from the judiciary pending the outcome of the police investigation into the allegations against her. It would be inappropriate to comment further whilst the investigation is active."