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A judge has been criticised after he threatened to put a 14-year-old girl in a cell if she cried while her mother gave evidence in court.
Natasha Myers was on trial in front of Judge Stephen John for smuggling contraband items into a prison, when the judge made the shocking threat to her daughter.
The mother was accused of smuggling two mobile phones, a sim card and cannabis to her boyfriend, David Akende, in Wandsworth prison during a visit with her daughter.
The Appeal Court heard last month that the day before she gave evidence, Judge John had withdrawn her bail because he was concerned she could abscond.
The following morning, he ordered her daughter to apologise for being rude to him, though it is not known what she is alleged to have said, and warned her that if she showed any reaction during her mother’s evidence, she would be arrested.
He told her: ‘I don’t care if you’re 14, you’ll go into a cell the same as anybody else.’
The mother, who was found guilty in April and jailed for 18 months, has now had her convictions overturned after the Appeal Court found she had not received a fair trial owing to Judge John’s treatment of her, the Times reported.
Lord Justice Hamblen, one of three Appeal Court judges, said Judge John’s actions could have ‘handicapped her’ in giving evidence.
He said: ‘It was not appropriate for the judge to threaten to send a 14-year-old girl to the cells at all, let alone for a mere facial reaction.
‘This is likely to have caused considerable upset [to her mother] and potentially to have handicapped her in the continued giving of her evidence.’
Penelope Gibbs, founder of the Transform Justice charity, said that the judge ‘may have been having a bad week but his treatment of a child who was about to be deprived of her mother was totally unacceptable’. 

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