legal

Investigation launched after family judge attacked in court


A family court judge is recovering at home after he was attacked in court during a hearing.

The incident happened at Milton Keynes County Court on Wednesday. The Gazette understands the judge, His Honour Judge Patrick Perusko, was hit with what witnesses report to be a radiator.

It is not known what the nature of the hearing was as it was a closed court session.

The Judicial Office has said that the judge was attacked during proceedings and is now recovering at home. He is understood to have needed hospital treatment. A spokesperson added: ‘The judge is being supported by leadership judges, and has been offered access to counselling, contact with specialist welfare judges, and professional support services. Other judges who were present in the court have also been offered support.’

Questions will be asked about the security arrangements in court when the judge was attacked. One court user has told the Gazette there have been concerns about the situation at Milton Keynes for some time.

HMCTS

A spokesperson for HM Courts & Tribunals Service said: ‘Wednesday’s event was shocking and we have remained in contact with Judge Perusko throughout. Incidents like this are extremely rare. We take the safety of our judges and court staff very seriously and are now urgently reviewing the circumstances. It would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.’

Attacks on judges in England and Wales are indeed rare, with just one reported case in recent years. In 2013, the brother of a man who had just been sentenced attacked the judge and knocked off his wig at Ipswich Crown Court. He was later jailed for 18 months after admitting contempt of court.

Thames Valley Police said it was called to an assault at Milton Keynes County Court on Wednesday at around 12.30pm.

Greg Hazeltine, 40, from Princes Risborough, pleaded guilty to one count each of assault of a person thereby causing actual bodily harm, criminal damage, and Section 4A public order at Westminster Court on Thursday.

He will be sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on a date to be confirmed.



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