Judge allegedly falls asleep during rape trial

Judicial watchdog launches inquiry into claims Philip Cattan fell asleep while alleged victim was giving evidence in Manchester

The judge stopped the trial following the allegation and it will now be relisted. Photograph: Stephen Hird/Reuters

The judge stopped the trial following the allegation and it will now be relisted. Photograph: Stephen Hird/Reuters

Sat, Jul 26, 2014, 13:26

An investigation has been launched following claims a judge fell asleep in court, causing a child rape trial in England to be halted.

The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) confirmed it was looking into the allegation against Recorder Philip Cattan, who was presiding over a trial at Manchester crown court.

The complaint is that Cattan fell asleep as a young alleged victim was giving evidence via videolink in the trial of John Quigley. The judge stopped the trial following the allegation and it will now be relisted.

A spokesman for the JCIO said the allegation was being considered in accordance with the Judicial Conduct (Judicial and other office holders) Rules 2013.

In a statement, the Crown Prosecution Service said: “The jury has been discharged in the trial of R v John Quigley at Manchester crown court following an issue that arose at court during the cross-examination of the first complainant in the case. The trial will be relisted as soon as possible. The complainants and other witnesses have been kept informed.”

Mr Quigley (49) of Burnage, Manchester, denies a number of sex offences, including the rape of a child under 13.

Cattan is a well-known barrister in the Manchester area and is a member of the St Johns Buildings chambers in the city.

He has appeared in a number of high-profile cases and was defence barrister in one of the trials relating to the 2001 Oldham riots.

Mr Cattan sits in Manchester as a recorder, which is a part-time judge. The JCIO said he would not be commenting on the allegation.

Judge Gabriel Hutton was disciplined in 2002 after he fell asleep during a rape trial at Gloucester crown court, causing it to be abandoned.