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Earlier comments that caused public outrage

THE JUDGE in the 'no angel' case, Ian Starforth Hill, is no stranger to controversy.

The 71-year-old judge was criticised for his handling of another alleged child sex case when he presided over a pre-trial review.

On that occasion he decided not to go ahead with the prosecution of a babysitter accused of assaulting seven children.

He said: 'These are frightfully shy children, totally unlikely to be able to persuade a jury that anything happened, even if it did, and secondly, there is no corroboration and thirdly, no damage that I can see, fortunately, was done to the children.'

The families were outraged.

In 1976, as a county court judge, he refused to give a wife suing for divorce a court order that her husband's mistress should be evicted from the marital home.

His refusal, made on the condition that the husband and mistress put themselves in sexual 'quarantine', was overturned when the case came to appeal.

In 1978, he said of an unemployed man who, he was told, spent his benefit money on drink: 'I think it is time we cut off their ears to make them realise that when they get benefit it is for their families and not to go down their throats.'

Later in the same year he told five youths who had tied up a 14-year-old boy to use him as a target for their catapults: 'The best sentence for you really would be to have you tied to a tree and everybody throw stones at you.'

In 1988 he told an Iranian found guilty of using a forged rent book and of assault causing grievous bodily harm that in his own country he would have had one of his arms chopped off 'or something similarly spectacular'.