Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/05/17/judge_website_shocker/

Judge in tech trial says he 'doesn't know what a website is'

As news breaks of beaks nabbed surfing smut at work

By Lewis Page

Posted in Law, 17th May 2007 16:30 GMT

Evidence has emerged today that British judges exhibit wildly differing levels of IT competence.

One beak at least is almost unbelievably ignorant. Judge Peter Openshaw reportedly told prosecutors at Woolwich Crown Court, South East London: “The trouble is I don’t understand the language. I don’t really understand what a website is.”

Lawyers tried to explain, but without success.

“I haven’t quite grasped the concepts," muttered the bewildered 59-year-old jurist.

When an expert witness was called to testify on IT-related matters, the technologically-challenged legal beagle became worried.

“Will you ask him to keep it simple?" pleaded Openshaw. "We’ve got to start from basics.”

The accused were Younes Tsouli, Waseem Mughal, and Tariq al-Daour, charged with various computer-related terrorism offences. The trial continues.

Meanwhile, it appeared that other judges had managed to master at least one basic digital skill - that of surfing for smut on their office computers.

The Times reports today that the Lord chancellor's Office for Judicial Complaints has been compelled to reveal that it is holding a secret list of judges who have been busted trolling the internet for smut.

"Secret list of porn judges 'does exist,'" trumpeted the paper.

Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner, ruled that: “It is important for the public to know and be assured that the Lord Chancellor [now the Office for Judicial Complaints] thoroughly investigates each and every allegation of computer misuse by judges.”

The finding continued: “This knowledge of transparency would reinforce public confidence in the Lord Chancellor’s ability effectively to supervise the judiciary. A greater loss of confidence in the Lord Chancellor would arise from the public’s being ‘left in the dark’ on the true state of affairs.”

A ministry of justice spokesman confirmed that it did indeed have a list of judges disciplined for googling for filth, but wouldn't disclose any details.

Shame. It would have been nice to know what type of smut the judicial connoisseur goes for. Probably involves wigs, we're guessing.®