Constance Briscoe, judge who wrote 'misery memoir', suspended after arrest

 

One of Britain’s few black women judges, who shot to prominence six years ago with a “misery memoir” about her tough early life, has been arrested and questioned by police.

Constance Briscoe, 55, was arrested in Clapham, south-west London, at the weekend by officers from Kent and taken to a police station for interview. She was later released on bail pending further inquiries.

Kent police declined to name the arrested woman or say why she had been arrested. “A 55-year-old woman was arrested on Saturday in Clapham, south London, interviewed by officers and bailed pending further inquiries,” a spokeswoman said.

A spokeswoman for the Office for Judicial Complaints said: "The Lord Chief Justice and Lord Chancellor have suspended Constance Briscoe from the judiciary pending the outcome of the police investigation into the allegations against her. It would be inappropriate to comment further whilst the investigation is active."

Ms Briscoe, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, is one of the better-known members of the legal profession owing to her writing, an appearance on the BBC television programme Question Time and regular mentions in the society pages of newspapers.

Ms Briscoe’s profile grew with the publication of her 2006 book Ugly, in which she detailed a traumatic childhood and described how her mother neglected her, beat her for wetting the bed and taunted her over her looks. Ms Briscoe’s mother, Carmen, took legal action against her daughter over her depiction in the book, but a jury found in favour of the author.

Ms Briscoe followed it with a second book, Beyond Ugly, which details how she left home, rebuilt her confidence with the help of plastic surgery and made her way in the legal world. She was a panellist on Question Time last year when she criticised a “something for nothing” attitude in Britain where too many people were subsidised for not working.

Her personal life was given further airing in diary columns this summer following the ending of her long relationship with Anthony Arlidge QC, a leading barrister.

Ms Briscoe, a mother-of-two, was called to the Bar in 1983 and appointed a Recorder – a part-time judge – 13 years later. The post requires a minimum of 15 days working in the Crown Court each year.

Colleagues at her chambers said she was in meetings and several approaches for comment from Ms Briscoe about the matter were not returned.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate