MP Philip Davies to ask questions about justice system after day with city's top judge

Bradford MP spends a day in court with top judge to gain insight into justice system

The Recorder of Bradford Judge Roger Thomas QC

Shipley MP Philip Davies

Bradford Crown Court

First published in News
Last updated
Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter

SHIPLEY MP Philip Davies has vowed to ask questions in Parliament about criminal justice issues after spending a day on the Bench with Bradford's top judge.

Mr Davies, an outspoken critic of judges, took up an invitation from the Recorder of Bradford, Judge Roger Thomas QC, to see the dispensing of justice at first hand.

The politician said his day at Bradford Crown Court had been an eye opener.

Mr Davies said: "Judge Thomas was aware of my public comments, criticising judges for being out of touch and soft, and contacted me to suggest I went to see what happened in court. I had never been to the crown court, and jumped at the chance.

"We discussed aspects of the criminal justice system before and after I sat in court and observed Judge Thomas dealing with cases."

Among the cases dealt with was the sentencing of a woman for her role in a drugs conspiracy. Judge Thomas jailed her for seven years. Another man was imprisoned for assault, after previously being given a number of community orders for offences of violence.

Mr Davies said: "I thought the sentences Judge Thomas handed down were perfectly fair and reasonable, and when I criticise judges in the future it won't be directed at him.

"It was a great insight and gave me the opportunity to discuss some of my concerns about sentencing."

The Conservative MP added: "Seeing some of the issues at first hand, such as getting trials to take place within the custody time limits, was a great learning curve and I have some sympathy with judges.

"There are issues I will be asking about and raising in Parliament."

Judge Thomas said he was glad Mr Davies had sat in on his court.

"One of my frustrations is that so many people have so much to say about the criminal justice system, and say it without really knowing what we do here.

"I am pretty sure that when people do come here they will be reassured we are doing things in a sensible way, and the criticism that we are all out of touch and we are too soft is not the conclusion that people reach if they actually come here."

Judge Thomas said it was right, as an elected MP, that Mr Davies commented on criminal justice matters, and it was sensible that he had gone to his local crown court to see how it worked.

"He was genuinely interested, and it has set up a good line of communication. I have told him that if he has an issue about a case he can raise it with me and I will look at it.

"My plea is for more people to come to court to see how justice works. It is free, interesting and gives an insight into what is actually happening."

Comments (7)

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7:53am Mon 18 Aug 14

mr.bradford says...

One wonders, had the boot been on the other foot and Judge Thomas had criticized Tory Philip Davis for been 'out of touch' just how Davis could have proved him otherwise.
One wonders, had the boot been on the other foot and Judge Thomas had criticized Tory Philip Davis for been 'out of touch' just how Davis could have proved him otherwise. mr.bradford
  • Score: 0

8:10am Mon 18 Aug 14

Cityman23 says...

mr.bradford wrote:
One wonders, had the boot been on the other foot and Judge Thomas had criticized Tory Philip Davis for been 'out of touch' just how Davis could have proved him otherwise.
Well, if the judge had criticised MPs for lacking compassion, empathy and being out of touch at a time when many of the poor are getting poorer, food banks are burgeoning and the vulnerable are struggling, no doubt Davies would have said, "my 'appointment book's full!!!"
[quote][p][bold]mr.bradford[/bold] wrote: One wonders, had the boot been on the other foot and Judge Thomas had criticized Tory Philip Davis for been 'out of touch' just how Davis could have proved him otherwise.[/p][/quote]Well, if the judge had criticised MPs for lacking compassion, empathy and being out of touch at a time when many of the poor are getting poorer, food banks are burgeoning and the vulnerable are struggling, no doubt Davies would have said, "my 'appointment book's full!!!" Cityman23
  • Score: 0

8:13am Mon 18 Aug 14

Cityman23 says...

I wonder if one of the miscreants looked over at the judge and then Davies, just before he was sentenced and thought, " Oh my god, why did my trial have to be today????"
I wonder if one of the miscreants looked over at the judge and then Davies, just before he was sentenced and thought, " Oh my god, why did my trial have to be today????" Cityman23
  • Score: 7

8:13am Mon 18 Aug 14

Cityman23 says...

I wonder if one of the miscreants looked over at the judge and then Davies, just before he was sentenced and thought, " Oh my god, why did my trial have to be today????"
I wonder if one of the miscreants looked over at the judge and then Davies, just before he was sentenced and thought, " Oh my god, why did my trial have to be today????" Cityman23
  • Score: 0

9:15am Mon 18 Aug 14

BB&B!! says...

Well its like health & safety inspections or care home inspections they are fully aware they are been judged on their actions at that time so change their behavior in accordance, had Judge Thomas not known he was been scrutinised maybe he would have given lighter sentences I think more covert action needs to be taken!
Well its like health & safety inspections or care home inspections they are fully aware they are been judged on their actions at that time so change their behavior in accordance, had Judge Thomas not known he was been scrutinised maybe he would have given lighter sentences I think more covert action needs to be taken! BB&B!!
  • Score: -2

3:37pm Mon 18 Aug 14

Kay1950 says...

Perhaps Philip Davies should have observed court proceedings before he criticised the judges rather than afterwards? Judge Thomas was much too polite to actually say this of course but reading between the lines.......
Perhaps Philip Davies should have observed court proceedings before he criticised the judges rather than afterwards? Judge Thomas was much too polite to actually say this of course but reading between the lines....... Kay1950
  • Score: 2

3:38pm Mon 18 Aug 14

Kay1950 says...

Perhaps Mr Davies should having visited the courts before making his criticisms rather than afterwards?
Perhaps Mr Davies should having visited the courts before making his criticisms rather than afterwards? Kay1950
  • Score: 3

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