Judge Fired For Trolling His Cases Online And Calling A Man 'Donkey'

by
Laurel Dammann
Caught leaving nasty online comments under a pseudonym to critics of cases he was involved in, a UK judge was investigated, and then removed from his post.

Canterbury Crown Court, where Dunn-Shaw sat as judge. Wikimedia Commons: Nick Smith

The dance between work and private life can be a complex one. At the very least, it leaves you exhausted and, at the very worst, out of personal life — or a job. A judge who sat at Canterbury Crown Court in Kent, England, lost his job after posting comments online attacking critics of his cases.  

Jason Dunn-Shaw joined the rank of internet trolls when he assumed a pseudonym, thought to be Querelle, and began name-calling and using generally volatile language toward others on the site KentOnline. He called his critics "narrow-minded and bigoted," one man a "donkey," and reportedly used the phrase "lots of warty fingers at work here" when people posted comments he disliked. Querelle/Dunn-Shaw also went into suspiciously great detail about his cases in order to defend the rulings.

He was removed from judicial office after the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) concluded that his behavior was impartial, unprofessional, and generally unbefitting of a judge. In a statement released by the JCIO concering Dunn-Shaw's dismissal, a spokesperson said:

 "Recorder Jason Dunn-Shaw was subject to a conduct investigation for using a pseudonym to post comments (some of which were abusive) on a newspaper website about a case in which he had been a judge and another in which he had been a barrister. In his own name he also used publicly available social media sites to post material or not remove material which was not compatible with the dignity of judicial office or suggested a lack of impartiality on matters of public controversy. The Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice concluded that this [behavior] fell below the standard expected of a judicial office holder and have removed Mr Dunn-Shaw from judicial office.”

The BBC reported that Dunn-Shaw has experience in both prosecution and defense, and he has worked on 45 murder cases in his career. Dunn-Shaw reports that he has the respect of his colleagues and has been a dedicated member of the justice system throughout his career.

"I am dismayed," Dunn-Shaw told KentOnline. "I have served diligently for a number of years throughout the South East. I have been described as 'outstanding' by counsel, jurors, and witnesses."

The initial complaint to the JCIO was made by Nick Lewis, the son of a fraud victim in a case in which Dunn-Shaw represented the defendants.

"It's a shame that it has taken 14 months for the complaint to be investigated, but at least it's the right result and he can no longer act as judge," Lewis told KentOnline.

According to KentOnline, Dunn-Shaw plans to appeal JCIO's decision to an ombudsman, calling their choice to fire him disgraceful. However, while he will not lose his job sitting down, he seems to have reached a place of peace in case there is no second chance.

"If it is to be that the judiciary is to be populated by timid and unimaginative 'yes-men' then I am better off out of it," he said. "But such degrades our fine heritage of some independently-minded judges who live in the real world."

Banner and thumbnail credit: Flickr user The Hamster Factor

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