Judge disciplined for offering to pay teenage girl's fine

Bradford Crown CourtImage copyright

A judge has been disciplined for offering to pay a fine for a teenager who stabbed her abuser in the stomach.

The 15-year-old girl had admitted attacking the man, who sexually assaulted her as a child.

After giving her a two-year youth rehabilitation order, the judge offered to pay a fine, known as a victim surcharge, on her behalf.

But following complaints, Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC was disciplined for not demonstrating impartiality.

The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office said the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice had considered Judge Durham Hall’s comment about the surcharge and issued him with “formal advice”.

The judge had stated that he would pay the victim surcharge himself if the defendant was forced to pay.

The sanction is the lowest penalty that can be imposed in instances where it is decided disciplinary action is appropriate.

The girl, who was initially charged with attempted murder, pleaded guilty in 2016 to wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

She had attacked Zadhullah Boota, who was given a community order in 2010 after he was convicted of abusing her when she was a child.

Sentencing the girl to a two-year youth rehabilitation order, Judge Durham Hall had said he believed Boota had been dealt with “somewhat leniently”.

“It is self evident that this offence was caused by, and solely relates to, the impact of the offending upon you when you were [a young girl],” he said.

“I hope to be able to help you. There is no question of locking you up. That would be callous and cruel in the extreme.”

The court heard the girl, who handed herself in to police, told officers her life had been destroyed by the abuse she had suffered.

She said she had felt let down by the justice system when Boota did not go to prison.

The victim surcharge is a financial penalty of between £10 and £170 imposed on defendants in England and Wales when they are sentenced.

The revenue is used to fund victims’ services.

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