Chris Grayling has said the overnight detention of a vulnerable 15-year-old girl victim during an underage sex trial at Bradford Crown Court has raised questions which need answering.
The Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor was at a question and answer session with Baildon residents this afternoon when retired educationalist Stuart Herdson raised the issue of Judge Robert Bartfield’s decision to have the runaway girl arrested to ensure she was in court to give evidence against hardened criminal and sex abuser Abid Miskeen – yesterday jailed for seven years.
“Is it right that a 15-year-old victim should be held in a police cell for 22 hours?” asked Mr Herdson.
Mr Grayling said while not fully aware of all the circumstances, he was sure the judge had acted in the best interests of justice.
“I would always say our judiciary are wise, sensible and good bunch of people who make the best decisions, even if those decisions are sometimes hard,” said Mr Grayling.
“And I certainly will not cast a brickbat at a particular judge.
“However I do think enough issues have arisen about what did take place for the judiciary, and we ourselves, to ask further questions.”
Shipley MP Philip Davies hosted Mr Grayling’s visit and said the decision to hold the girl, a reluctant witness, had led to justice being done.
“As I understand it it was either the girl was held in order to make sure she gave evidence, or someone who is a serious danger would have walked free,” said Mr Davies.
West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson was tonight in talks with West Yorkshire Chief Constable Mark Gilmore after expressing concerns over the case.