Video film `shows judge with prostitute'

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The Independent Online
The judge who kept his job after reassuring the Lord Chancellor he had not consorted with prostitutes or taken drugs faced further embarrassment yesterday after the publication of apparently compromising video stills.

The News of the World newspaper printed scenes said to come from a secretly filmed video showing Judge Anthony Thornton QC, 48, allegedly inhaling from a cocaine and cannabis cigarette, as well as allegedly sucking wine from a prostitute's toes.

The newspaper claimed it also possessed a log of meetings between the Old Etonian and the two women, named as Maria and Anne, who both have criminal records. It is an unwritten rule that judges avoid contact with anyone who has a record.

The newspaper said the evidence endorsed claims it made last week about the judge's activities, although he vociferously denied any wrong-doing.

After the initial allegations, Judge Thornton, who sits as a Referee in the High Court in London, was summonsed to a meeting with Lord Mackay, the Lord Chancellor.

Judge Thornton was allowed to keep his pounds 75,000-a-year job after giving assurances that he had not taken prohibited drugs or known that the prostitutes had criminal records.

Last night, the judge and his lawyers were unavailable for comment.

The Lord Chancellor is currently attending the Appelate Judges and Commonwealth Chief Judges Conference in Ottawa, Canada, a spokesman for his office said.

He returns to London on October 2 and will be fully briefed on the affair then. The spokesman said he had nothing to add to the statement made earlier in the week.