The outgoing Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, lobbed a live grenade into the lap of one barrister in a Court of Appeal judgment on Monday, accusing Counsel concerned of “flagrant misconduct and alleged professional incompetence” in the opening sentence of the judgment. 

Three men convicted of offences under the Terrorism Act 2006 appealed to the CA. One of them, Farooqi, changed legal teams for the appeal and blamed his Counsel for alleged poor advice on whether to give evidence at trial, as well as alleged incompetence in advancing misconceived and untenable legal arguments and in defying the trial judge’s rulings and in behaving in an unprofessional and provocative manner in front of the jury. The picture seemingly painted was of trial Counsel picking fights with the judge and adopting a kamikaze approach to his client’s defence. The other defendants relied on the consequences for their cases of that alleged misconduct by him: they did not blame their own Counsel.

The CA were content that in the end the trial judge saved the day with a very careful summing up to correct the obvious errors by Farooqi’s Counsel and to redress the balance overall, so the appeals were dismissed. But the Lord Chief’s biting comments about the way that Farooqi’s Counsel conducted the trial may prove problematic for him in the inevitable disciplinary proceedings which are pending. 

See: R v Farooqi & ors [2013] EWCA Crim 1649