Bradford’s leading judge has warned that “disrespect and insolence” in the public gallery at the city’s Crown Court will not be tolerated after locking up two men for disrupting a serious drugs supplying case.
The Recorder of Bradford, Judge Roger Thomas QC, told the pair to alert others in the community that such behaviour leads to a stint behind bars for Contempt of Court.
Judge Thomas sent the men, one of whom gave a false name in court, to the cells for more than two hours on Friday.
They were part of a group ordered to leave the courtroom part-way through the case for a catalogue of misbehaviour, including not standing when the judge walked in and “grinning and mucking about” as the prosecution facts were outlined.
Judge Thomas stressed that family and friends of defendants were positively encouraged to attend court, but they must behave in a seemly manner.
“There is quite a trend in this building of people coming into the public gallery in some numbers with an insolent attitude in the courtroom and who are disruptive,” he said.
These men had derived “great mirth and entertainment” from a serious case and refused to leave court when the public gallery was cleared.
When they were ordered into “the back room” through the door from the dock to the cells, the noise they made showed they were most unhappy with the arrangement.
Judge Thomas brought them back into court, told them the continued disruption “aggravated their position” and sent them back into custody.
When they appeared in the dock after more than two hours behind bars, barrister Andrew Dallas said: “They are very shaken and anxious about their position.”
He said they had refused to leave the public gallery because they wanted to report the outcome of the case to the defendant’s close family who had not attended court.
After more than two hours, the men were released by Judge Thomas with a warning to others that a cell awaits them if they do not respect the dignity of the court.