Judge cleared of misconduct after retaliatory use of c-word to racist thug

A judge who called a racist thug a "bit of a c***" after he launched a foul-mouthed tirade at her has been cleared of misconduct.

The exchange took place while Judge Patricia Lynch QC was sentencing John Hennigan at Chelmsford Crown Court for his ninth breach of an anti-social behaviour order in 11 years.

Widely reported at the time, the incident prompted public complaints, which were sent to the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) for consideration.

Hennigan was in the dock on August 10 when, disagreeing with her, he told Judge Lynch: "It's obvious, isn't it? Because you're a c*** and I'm not."

To which she responded: "Well, you are a bit of a c*** yourself. Being offensive to me does not make things better at all."

Shouting back, he said: "Go f*** yourself", to which the QC replied: "You too. Take him down."

Judge Lynch jailed Hennigan for 18 months for insulting and making racist slurs to a black Caribbean mother in Harlow, Essex.

The QC has since "apologised unreservedly for her remarks".

She also told investigators she "deeply regretted the incident" and said her "remarks were a momentary lapse of judgment which should have never happened".

An investigation report sent by the JCIO to one of the complainants states: "Although the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice considered HHJ Lynch's remarks to be inappropriate, they did not find that they amounted to misconduct or warranted disciplinary action."

It added: "With the agreement of the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Chief Justice therefore advised HHJ Lynch to ensure that she responded appropriately in court at all times."

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