Magistrate merely ‘resting his eyes’

From CPD Webinars 30.03.09:

Magistrate, John Harrison, is being investigated after it was alleged that he fell asleep during a teenager's trial for a suspected assault.

Mr Harrison was sitting with two colleagues at Lancaster Magistrates Court when the defendant's mother noticed that he had closed his eyes.

She informed her son's solicitor who proceeded to make an official representation to the court.

Mr Harrison denied having fallen sleep, but following discussions with both his colleagues and a court official decided to halt the case after a day and a half and schedule a retrial for next month.
Mr Harrison told his local newspaper he had merely been resting his eyes.
"I was not asleep, but I rested my eyes for five minutes or so," he said. "It was just a normal reaction in the middle of the afternoon.
"The court was warm - the heating was on and the sun was pouring in through the window.
"I was still listening to the defence solicitor speaking to the defendant and I was able to take down some notes related to what was said.

Sleeping Judge

Resting his eyes? Hmm, we’ve all heard that one before. Quite why Mr Harrison would then go on to explain that the heating was on and the sun was making the court hot, I don’t know. Surely even a humble magistrate is capable of recognising that painting such a picture is unlikely to help his cause.


  1. I think I was reading about an appeal against a conviciton, because the judge was sleeping while important evidence was given out. It was held that the judge was not asleep, but we was merely listening with his eyes closed.

    I know how they feel - I was falling asleep in court loads of times (but I always resisted, before you asked).

  2. You think you were reading about an appeal, Andro. Sounds like you're the sleepy one! :-P

    But I get what you mean, courts must be the most sleep-inducing places at times. What's your trick for staying awake during the most tedious of proceedings?

  3. I've always nearly fell asleep whilst being in court.

    I nearly fell asleep at the Old Bailey the other week, during a very exciting Hearsay Ruling (I'm a geek) because it was very slow and it all had to be translated for the defendants not interesting at all

  4. At least you haven't taken a pillow in with you, Lost! :P

  5. Lol! I so would have loved to witness that!

  6. This is gold. Absolutely no regard for at least appearing to take the justice system seriously.


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