A rape trial has collapsed after a senior judge was accused of falling asleep as an alleged child abuse victim was in the middle of giving evidence. Recorder Philip Cattan apparently nodded off as the young victim was being questioned by the defense during the trial at Manchester Crown Court.
Barristers complained that the judge had fallen asleep as the first alleged victim was cross-examined. The trial was abandoned and must now start again. The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office said Mr. Cattan could not comment while the matter was investigated.
The 65-year-old judge was asked by barristers to send the jury out of court so that a point of law was raised, on the first day of the trial of John Quigley, 49, on Monday. It was then that Judge Cattan was confronted with claim that he had slept through a crucial part of the case – evidence given by the under-aged alleged victim via video-link.
The claim led the judge to discharge the jury and to order a retrial, meaning the complaint has cost the taxpayer around £10,000. The family of the alleged victim witnessed the judge’s apparently falling asleep, the Manchester Evening News reported.
Mr. Cattan is a recorder – a barrister who spends between 15 and 30 days a year sitting as judge. If he is found guilty of misconduct, any disciplinary action will be decided by the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice. In the case Mr Cattan was presiding over, a man was on trial for raping a child and other sexual offences against children.
It also means the witness will have to give evidence again in the new trial, which will take place next month under a new judge. The case is expected to last five days. She was the first of two alleged victims to testify that they were abused by John Quigley when they were very young girls between 2006 to 2013.
John Quigley, 49, of Avon Road, Burnage, south Manchester, denies 10 sexual offences against children including rape and sexual assault. A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service said: “The jury has been discharged in the trial of R v John Quigley at Manchester Crown Court. Read more about the story here.