England

Convicted judge swears and storms out of Carlisle court

Judge Beatrice Bolton
Image caption Bolton and her partner were labelled "neighbours from hell"

A judge who swore and stormed out of court after being convicted of failing to keep her German Shepherd under control has been fined £2,500.

The dog, owned by Judge Beatrice Bolton who sits at Newcastle Crown Court, attacked a sunbathing student in his parents' Northumberland garden.

Bolton, 57, who was asked during the trial to stop chewing gum, denied one charge under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

Outside court she said she would appeal against her conviction.

A spokesman for the Judicial Office for England and Wales said the Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chancellor would be considering her position as a judge.

Speaking outside Carlisle Magistrates' Court, Bolton said: "I have to tell you I'm absolutely devastated by this conviction.

"I have always sought to do what was right in relation to my neighbours and was very conscious of my public position and tried very hard for it not to be said that I was abusing such a position."

Speaking about her earlier outburst she said: "I have suffered panic attacks for several months and anything I did say was, I'm afraid, as a result of the significant pressure emotionally that I now find myself in.

"This has been a terrible, terrible strain on me which I have tried to bear for the sake of my family, but everyone has their limit at which they cannot control themself.

"I above all else would never disrespect a court."

Verdict outburst

Sunderland student Frederik Bekker, 20, was in his parents' garden in Rothbury, Northumberland, when the dog bit his leg.

The judge strode out of the court when the verdict was announced and swore, calling it a "travesty".

She was also heard shouting: "I'll never set foot in a court again" from outside the courtroom.

Bolton, who went to Newcastle's Church High school and Sheffield University, was also ordered to pay £275 compensation to the victim, plus £930 court costs and a £15 surcharge.

During the trial, the court heard the student's parents, David and Anne Malia, had labelled Bolton and her partner "neighbours from hell".

'Dog log'

They shared a garden behind their adjoining property with the pair.

They had been friends but their relationship soured over the rights to the homes' shared back gardens and the behaviour of Bolton's pet, the German Shepherd named Georgina.

They described living "in terror" of the dog and kept a "dog log" of incidents when the pedigree animal strayed on to their land.

Their son, Frederik "Fritz" Bekker was lying on the lawn at his parents' home when the then seven-month-old bitch went for him on 31 May.

Mr Bekker, from Newcastle, said the dog's bite tore through his black tracksuit trousers causing a bruise and a cut to his left leg.

Rapprochement offer

His wound was checked at hospital but did not require treatment.

Bolton's counsel, Ben Nolan QC, said a dispute had simmered between the two families both before and since the attack.

Bolton had attempted "a rapprochement" by offering to introduce the pet to the Malias, or to build a boundary fence between the two properties, but the Malias had refused.

He said they had been "intransigent and implacably opposed" to any solution she suggested.

Mr Nolan said Georgina, who is registered with the Kennel Club as Bunderbury Francer, had received specialist obedience training since the incident.

A police dog handler had judged her not to be a dangerous dog.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites