Date: 28 November 2023
A spokesperson for the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office Said:
Mr Justice Keehan, on behalf of the Lady Chief Justice and with the Lord Chancellor’s agreement, has issued Mr Grant Roberts JP with a formal warning for misconduct.
Guidance issued to magistrates states that it is not appropriate for magistrates to conduct internet research into cases they are to hear, on issues arising within cases or into people involved in cases as to do so could compromise judicial impartiality.
A complaint was made by a barrister, after he was advised by the legal advisor in court, that his case would have to be moved to a fresh court, as Mr Roberts JP, one of a panel of three magistrates, had conducted an independent internet research on the defendant to assist him in reaching a decision.
Mr Roberts took full responsibility for his actions and apologised for his error. He explained that the error had come from a lack of knowledge and understanding as he was a relatively inexperienced magistrate. He accepted that he would have been informed about this in induction training but did not recall it at the time.
Following an investigation, a conduct panel of the South East Region Conduct Advisory Committee found that Mr Roberts’ actions had damaged his integrity and standing and that of wider magistracy and therefore amounted to misconduct. Mr Justice Keehan and the Lord Chancellor agreed with the conduct panel’s findings and issued Mr Roberts with a formal warning.
Media queries in relation to the JCIO should be made in the first instance to the Judicial Press Office - telephone 020 7073 4852 or via email - email@example.com
Sanctions for misconduct by judicial office-holders are set out in the Constitutional Reform Act 2005. They are, in order of severity: formal advice, formal warning, reprimand and removal from office.
For more information about the Office, including details on how to make a complaint against a judicial office holder, you can visit the JCIO website at: Judicial Conduct Investigations website