A crown court judge, HHJ Jeremy Lea, is likely to face criminal prosecution under the Computer Misuse Act 1990, say Royal Courts of Justice insiders.
Mr Lea, 66, is under investigation by Nottinghamshire Police after the Lord Chief Justice found Mr Lea misused the courts’ DCS computer system.
The Judicial Office provided police with evidence gathered on behalf of the Lord Chief Justice. Sources expect Chief Constable Craig Guildford to refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service. The Director of Public Prosecutions, Max Hill QC, will then decide on a charge.
Judge Lea hit the headlines in 2017, as the family court judge in the Samantha Baldwin case.
In a widely-criticised ruling, Mr Lea removed two young boys from the custody of their mother, Samantha Baldwin, and handed them to their father – despite both boys reporting sexual abuse against their father, and the existence of corroborative forensic evidence.
Journalist Richard Carvath publicly criticised judge Lea’s ruling and, in January 2019, both Jeremy Lea and the father accused Mr Carvath of harassment.
Mr Carvath was acquitted of stalking the father after trial by jury at Swindon Crown Court in December 2019. It was to access the digital case files in this prosecution for which Jeremy Lea misused court computers last summer.