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Judge reprimanded for praising burglar

A judge who said a burglar needed "a huge amount of courage" has been formally reprimanded for a "serious error of judgement", the Office for Judicial Complaints (OJC) said yesterday.

Judge Peter Bowers told an offender, who raided three homes in five days: "It takes a huge amount of courage, as far as I can see, for somebody to burgle somebody's house. I wouldn't have the nerve," as he gave him a suspended 12-month sentence at Teesside Crown Court in September.

His comments led to a public outcry with David Cameron joining the criticism. The OJC said the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice have upheld the complaints, saying his remarks "damaged public confidence in the judicial process".