UK: Circuit Judge removed from office for deleting data

A circuit judge has been removed from office for misconduct after he ‘deliberately’ deleted data which was of police interest. 

His honour judge Andrew Easteal, appointed in 2018, was found to have deliberately deleted data in the knowledge that it was of interest to police officers carrying out a criminal investigation, the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office said.

Easteal denied that his intention was to frustrate the criminal investigation but his actions were found to have been ‘misconduct of the utmost seriousness’.

A spokesperson for the JCIO said: ‘Judicial office-holders are expected to strive to ensure that their conduct, both in and out of court, maintains and enhances the confidence of the public, the legal profession, and litigants, in their personal impartiality and that of the judiciary. They are also expected to put the obligations of judicial office above personal interests.

‘Having considered the mitigation offered by Judge Easteal, the lord chief justice and lord chancellor agreed with the investigating judge’s finding that this was misconduct of the utmost seriousness, for which the judge should be removed from office.’