NI: District judge to receive guidance on ‘inappropriate’ comments during trial

NI: District judge to receive guidance on 'inappropriate' comments during trial

Sir Declan Morgan

A district judge in Northern Ireland who openly questioned why buying sex is a criminal offence but selling sex is not will now receive “specific guidance” on the issue.

The comments made by Judge Ted Magill during a criminal trial were “inappropriate”, the Lord Chief Justice, Sir Declan Morgan, agreed in correspondence with DUP MLA Paul Givan, the Belfast Telegraph reports.

Sir Declan added: “I have arranged for the judge to have specific guidance on this issue, and also for a note to issue through our Judicial Studies Branch to all judiciary dealing with such cases.”

Judge Magill made the comments while presiding over the trial of a 41-year-old Derry man who pleaded guilty to a single charge of paying for sexual services of a person.

The judge reportedly said it was “hard for me to wrap my head around” the fact that the man was guilty of an offence but the sex worker from whom he purchased sexual services was not.

Mr Givan told the Belfast Telegraph: “I welcome the fact that the Lord Chief Justice has acted so swiftly in acknowledging that the judge’s remarks were inappropriate, and ensuring that the judiciary will be given guidance on these issues.”

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