Leeds & West Yorkshire

Wife attack judge James Allen sacked

James Allen
Allen was sacked from his job as a judge after his conviction

A deputy high court judge who hit his wife during a row has been sacked for bringing the judiciary into disrepute.

James Allen QC was given a 12-month supervision order by District Judge Daphne Wickham after being convicted at Bradford Magistrates' Court in June.

A spokeswoman for the Office for Judicial Complaints confirmed on Wednesday that 61-year-old Allen had been removed from his post.

During the trial Allen claimed his wife inflicted injuries on herself.

'Sheer frustration'

The spokeswoman said: "The lord chancellor and the lord chief justice are of the view that his actions had brought the judiciary into disrepute and have removed Judge Allen from his judicial positions."

Allen claimed to magistrates at his trial in June that his wife, Melanie, inflicted injuries on her own face at their house in Woolley, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, on 20 February 2010.

Mrs Allen, 44, backed up her husband's story when she gave evidence in court. She also said she had self-harmed in the past.

The trial, which was spread over a number of days starting last year, heard that the argument between the Allens started after Allen had been away for a week and then spent the Saturday running his family around.

He returned to the family home having not eaten, to find his wife was preoccupied by the couple's cleaner, who had gone round to talk to Mrs Allen about various problems she was having.

They both told the court the argument was more heated than usual and Mrs Allen described her increasing exasperation at her husband's insistence he was leaving.

'Not consistent'

She said she punched herself on the sides of her head out of sheer frustration and despair.

Mrs Allen also gave evidence saying she had done something similar on Boxing Day 2009, following another argument.

And, she said, she cut her wrist 18 years ago, resulting in a minor injury which was treated in hospital.

But one doctor told the hearing that Mrs Allen's injuries on 20 February - which included bruises and swelling - were not consistent with self-punching.

Police officers told the trial Mrs Allen made no mention of harming herself when they called at the house within 15 minutes of receiving a 999 call.

In that emergency call, the caller was recorded saying the defendant was "trying to kill" Mrs Allen.

RSPCA case

But the district judge said she did not believe the couple's account and found Allen guilty of common assault.

Allen was called to the bar in 1973 and was made a QC in 1995. He was made a deputy high court judge in 2000.

One high-profile case he presided over was Christine Gill v RSPCA, in which he ruled against the animal charity in a dispute over a large will bequest.

Mrs Allen is also a trained barrister.

She sits using her professional name, Melanie Williamson, as a deputy coroner in the eastern district of West Yorkshire, covering the Leeds area.

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