A LEADING judge at the centre of a dangerous dog neighbour dispute was last night under investigation by senior Government figures, The Journal can reveal.
The Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chancellor are considering the future of Judge Beatrice Bolton after she was convicted of failing to control her German Shepherd and fined £2,500.
Judge Bolton, of Rothbury, Northumberland, swore and stormed out of court after a District Judge returned the guilty verdict last month.
The Journal understands Judge Bolton, 57, will be sacked if the investigation goes against her. It is thought the judge is considering her own future and may step down regardless.
Last night the Judicial Communications Office confirmed that Judge Bolton would not sit at Newcastle Crown Court until the review is over.
She is being investigated both over her conviction and her conduct in court.
A spokesman said: “It will be for the Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chancellor to consider the impact of this matter on Judge Bolton’s position as a judge. This has now been referred to the Office for Judicial Complaints.
“Judge Bolton has agreed not to sit until the review of the matter is complete. The review will be conducted under the Judicial Discipline (Prescribed Procedures) Regulations 2008.
“The length of each review will vary according to the particular circumstances of each case.”
Judge Bolton was found guilty following a two-day trial at Carlisle Magistrates’ Court.
The Journal told how the judge stormed out when the verdict was announced, branding the decision “a f***ing travesty”.
Police were called in May last year when Judge Bolton’s pet dog, a seven-month-old bitch named Georgina, sunk her teeth into Frederick Becker’s leg as he was sunbathing.
The court heard the 20-year-old’s parents, David and Anne Malia, had labelled the judge and her partner “neighbours from hell”.
They shared a garden behind their adjoining property with the pair.
They had been friends but their relationship soured over the rights to the homes’ shared back gardens and the behaviour of Bolton’s pet.
They described living “in terror” of the dog and kept a “dog log” of incidents when the pedigree animal strayed on to their land.
Mr Bekker, a student living in Newcastle, said the dog’s bite tore through his black tracksuit trousers causing a bruise and a cut to his left leg.
His wound was checked at hospital but did not require treatment.
Ben Nolan QC, defending, said Judge Bolton had attempted “a rapprochement” by offering to introduce the pet to the Malias, or to build a boundary fence between the two properties, but the Malias had refused. He said they had been “intransigent and implacably opposed” to any solution she suggested.
A police dog handler had judged Georgina not to be a dangerous dog.
Judge Bolton, who went to Newcastle's Church High School and Sheffield University, was also ordered to pay £275 compensation to the victim, plus £930 court costs and a £15 surcharge.
Meanwhile, a source close to the family said Judge Bolton is considering her future.
He said: “She is utterly devastated by the outcome of the case and was planning to take time out, even before the investigation, to consider her future.” Rumours are rife in the North East’s legal world that Judge Bolton, who has property abroad, is planning to retire after nine years as a circuit judge.
Before her judicial career, she worked a both a prosecutor and criminal defence lawyer.
She is utterly devastated by the outcome of the case and was planning to take time out