A judge told a 14-year-old girl that she would be put in the cells if she cried during her mother’s trial.
Judge Stephen John has been criticised by the Court of Appeal for threatening the teenage daughter of Natasha Myers that if she showed any reaction in court she would be arrested.
Myers was at Kingston Crown Court for smuggling phones, sim cards, chargers and a small amount of cannabis into Wandsworth prison during a visit to her boyfriend David Akende.
But her convictions were overturned by the Court of Appeal after judges ruled she had not received a fair trial.
A justice campaign said the ‘shocking’ treatment of her daughter in court highlighted the need to monitor the performance of judges.
Myers was originally jailed for 18 months in April but the Court of Appeal heard last month that the evening before giving evidence, Judge John had withdrawn her bail because he feared that she could abscond.
The next morning the judge ordered her daughter to apologise for being rude to him and warned that if she showed any reaction during the evidence she would be arrested.
‘I don’t care if you’re 14, you’ll go into a cell the same as anybody else,’ he told the girl.
Lord Justice Hamblen, one of three Court of Appeal judges, said: ‘It was not appropriate for the judge to threaten to send a 14-year-old girl to the cells at all, let alone for a mere facial reaction.
‘This is likely to have caused considerable upset [to her mother] and potentially to have handicapped her in the continued giving of her evidence.’
The court set aside Myers’s convictions and accepted the prosecution’s decision not to seek a retrial.
Penelope Gibbs, of the Transform Justice charity, said that the judge ‘may have been having a bad week but his treatment of a child who was about to be deprived of her mother was totally unacceptable’.