Brazilian cleaner 'blackmailed immigration judge after affair'

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The Independent Online

An immigration judge at the centre of an alleged blackmail attempt had an affair with his Brazilian cleaner while she was working in Britain illegally, it was claimed yesterday. When the relationship broke down, the cleaner stole personal videos of the judge having sex with other women, a jury at the Old Bailey was told.

The cleaner later tried to blackmail the judge, known only as I, by threatening to tell the authorities that he had employed her when she was an illegal immigrant. She threatened to take her story to the Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer (who until April had responsibility for the discipline of the judiciary), unless she was paid £20,000, it was claimed.

Yesterday it emerged that the cleaner had first worked for the girlfriend of Judge I, another judge known only as J, who also works at the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal. The court has ordered that the identities of the judges remain secret.

But yesterday the cleaner was named as Roselane Driza, a 37-year-old Brazilian living in south London. She was introduced to Judge I while she was still working for Judge J. But when J sacked the cleaner he said he had thought it "prudent" to do the same.

Judge I said that Ms Driza later came round to his flat. "It became clear she wanted to pursue J for what she claimed to be compensation for unfair dismissal. I started seeing her socially," he said. Asked by David Markham QC, for the prosecution, whether socially became "intimately as well?" the judge replied, "Yes it did."

But around Christmas in 2004, J had called on him one evening and found him in bed with Ms Driza.

Judge I said his girlfriend, Judge J, had been "pretty appalled". He persuaded Ms Driza to leave his flat - and had the locks changed.

But one evening she returned. "I let her in. I let her sleep in the spare room. I expected her to go the next day." But instead, she stayed for months against his wishes, said the judge.

He alleged she told him she would not go and if he tried to remove her she would go to the Lord Chancellor to make a complaint against both J and himself.

He said Ms Driza claimed to have "posted letters to the Prime Minister and Home Secretary and everyone else", and said that she had a contract with a newspaper for her story.

Asked by Mr Markham how the threats had made him feel, Judge I replied: "Absolutely petrified".

In July last year, Judge I went on holiday with Judge J to Canada. Ms Driza was still there when they returned. "She told me about scenes on a video... They were of me having sex with other women."

He said Ms Driza had kept them, saying, "They are my defence", and the videos had never been returned.

"She said if I tried to make her leave... she would send the videos to my superiors," Judge I told the court.

Two intimate e-mails and text messages written by Judge I to Ms Driza were read to the court. Asked why he was writing in such terms, seven months after she had allegedly made unwarranted demands on him, Judge I told the court that she used to text him in a similar vein.

Ms Driza denies blackmail and stealing the videos in 2005. The case continues.

'You are real chilli hot stuff'

Extracts of the texts written by Judge 'I' to his former cleaner and lover, Roselane Driza, were read to the court by her defence barrister.

They included: "I am lying in the arms of my lovely love. She is a beauty and sexy." and "You are a lovely shag. I miss you already."

Judge I also sent two passionate emails to Ms Driza.

In the first he allegedly mailed her, he said: "Hi my love. Thank you for a very lovely evening, you were looking so beautiful. J has every reason to be jealous but we will not go on about that.

"It is a pity I cannot see you during weekdays, but I will see you on Saturday and I will teach you how to cook a curry."

In the second, the court heard that he stated: "Darling you will probably get this tomorrow after we have spent an evening in passionate kisses. I was right about wanting to go with you when I first saw you. You must admit you were a bit cool. You are real chilli hot stuff. I love you very much."