Judiciary investigation clears judge after Mail on Sunday report that he was 'apologist' for paedophiles

Judge Peter Thornton has been cleared by the Judicial Conduct Investigations after a report in the Mail on Sunday that he was “an apologist” for paedophiles.

A spokesperson for the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office said: “The investigation by the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office into His Honour Judge Peter Thornton QC has concluded.

“All complaints against him have been dismissed by The Lord Chief Justice and The Lord Chancellor who have agreed that there is no evidence to support the allegations of misconduct or to undermine his position as a judicial office holder.”

The investigation followed a report in the Mail On Sunday about how Thornton wrote an article in 1982 in the magazine of the National Council for Civil Liberties when he was chairman of NCCL.

Lord Kerr of Tonaghmore, a Justice of the Supreme Court and former Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, was appointed to carry out an investigation.

Lord Kerr concluded that the claims were “without foundation”.

According to the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office: “He found that the purpose of the 1982 article – within the broader context of defending civil liberties – was to voice legitimate criticism of the use of the charge of conspiring to corrupt public morals and not to lend support to paedophilia in any way.

“Judge Thornton made clear in the article that paedophiles, who he referred to as 'child molesters', and sex offenders should be caught and punished.

“Lord Kerr recommended that Judge Thornton should be fully exonerated of all charges. 

“Judge Thornton has voluntarily refrained from sitting in criminal proceedings pending the outcome of this investigation. He will now resume sitting in all jurisdictions.”

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