Constance Briscoe

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Constance Briscoe
Born (1957-05-18) 18 May 1957 (age 57)
Occupation Former Barrister, Former Recorder of the Crown Court
Nationality British
Ethnicity Black Caribbean
Citizenship United Kingdom
Alma mater Newcastle University
University of Warwick
Notable works Ugly
Beyond Ugly
Children 2

Constance Briscoe (born 18 May 1957) was a barrister, and one of England's first black female recorders. In May 2014, she was jailed for three counts of intending to pervert the course of justice in R v Huhne and Pryce.[1]

Legal career[edit]

Briscoe studied Law at Newcastle University, financing her studies by having several jobs at weekends and during the holidays, including working with the terminally ill in a hospice. She took an MA at the University of Warwick and holds a Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws from the University of Wolverhampton.[2]

She was called to the Bar in 1983, and in 1996 became a recorder, a part time judge - one of the first black women to sit as a judge in the UK. Briscoe's legal practice focused on criminal law and fraud, principally defending. She also undertook tribunal work, public inquiries, inquests and acts as President of Mental Health Tribunals.[3] A room is now named after her in the Newcastle University Students' Union building.

In 2007 she unsuccessfully applied to become a QC .[4]

In October 2012 Briscoe was suspended from the judiciary after having been arrested and questioned by police.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Briscoe's parents emigrated to the United Kingdom from Jamaica in the 1950s.[3] Constance's mother Carmen had seven children, including Constance, by her husband George Briscoe. She then had another four children by Garfield Eastman.[4]

Briscoe is known for her books Ugly (2006) and Beyond Ugly (2008), in which she claims she was abused as a child. She often spoke publicly about her experiences. Her mother, Carmen Briscoe-Mitchell, denies these claims and sued her daughter and her publishers Hodder & Stoughton for libel.[6] The case was concluded in Briscoe's favour, when a jury in the High Court unanimously accepted Constance's argument that her allegations were substantially true.[7] Briscoe's mother stated she wished to have this civil decision reversed in the light of Briscoe's later criminal conviction for perverting the course of justice.[8] Police have confirmed she also faces criminal investigation in relation to the evidence supporting the civil judgment in her favour.[9]

Briscoe lived in Clapham, with her two children from a relationship with lawyer Adam Wilson.[4] A long relationship with barrister Anthony Arlidge QC ended in 2010.[10]

She underwent facial and other cosmetic surgery because she perceived herself to be ugly.[4]

Conviction[edit]

On 6 October 2012, Briscoe was arrested in Clapham and subsequently bailed pending further enquiries, as a result of a police investigation. No announcement was made at that time as to the nature of any allegations against her.[5][11]

The Lord Chief Justice and Lord Chancellor suspended Briscoe from the judiciary pending the outcome of the police investigation.[5][11]

In February 2013, at the trial of Vicky Pryce police stated that Briscoe's arrest related to the release of information to the press on behalf of Vicky Pryce contrary to statements Briscoe had made, and the police could not rely upon Briscoe as a "witness of truth". Pryce was a friend and neighbour of Briscoe. Briscoe was not charged but remained on police bail.[12][13][14]

On 12 June 2013 it was announced she would be charged with two counts of intending to pervert the course of justice and would attend court on 24 June 2013. The first count alleged that she provided police with two inaccurate statements, and the second alleged that she produced a copy of her witness statement that had been altered.[15]

On 1 May 2014 she was found guilty at the Old Bailey of three charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice, by lying to police, falsifying a witness statement, and providing a false document to an expert witness. On 2 May 2014 she was jailed for 16 months.[1]

On 6 August 2014, Briscoe was removed as a member of the judiciary in a statement released by the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office.[16]

In November, 2014, she was photographed walking her dog in Clapham, thus establishing she had been granted early release.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Constance Briscoe jailed for 16 months for lying to police". BBC. 2 May 2014. 
  2. ^ "Constance Briscoe - Barrister Profile". 9-12 Bell Yard. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Briscoe on The Book Show website
  4. ^ a b c d Simon Hattenstone (12 January 2008). "The avenger". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c Paul Peachey (9 October 2012). "Constance Briscoe, one of Britain's few black female judges, arrested and questioned by police". The Independent. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  6. ^ "'Ugly' author a 'liar and thief'". BBC News. 20 November 2008. Retrieved 20 November 2008. 
  7. ^ "'Ugly' barrister wins court case". BBC News. 1 December 2008. Retrieved 1 December 2008. 
  8. ^ "Constance Briscoe's fall from grace". BBC News. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  9. ^ "Constance Briscoe faces new criminal inquiry". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  10. ^ "Judge Constance Briscoe finds new love after barrister left her for 25-year-old trainee". Daily Telegraph. 13 August 2012. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  11. ^ a b "Top female judge Constance Briscoe arrested and bailed". Daily Telegraph. 9 October 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  12. ^ Ellen Branagh (26 February 2013). "Top female barrister Constance Briscoe investigated over leaking Chris Huhne case, court told". The Independent. Retrieved 26 February 2013. 
  13. ^ Sam Marsden, Gordon Rayner and Alice Philipson (26 February 2013). "Judge Constance Briscoe arrested for 'lying to police' about role in exposing Chris Huhne". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 February 2013. 
  14. ^ Caroline Davies (26 February 2013). "Vicky Pryce trial: judge arrested on suspicion of lying to police". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  15. ^ "Constance Briscoe to be charged over Huhne points case". BBC. 12 June 2013. Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  16. ^ "Constance Briscoe removed from judiciary". BBC. 6 August 2014. 
  17. ^ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2827668/SEBASTIAN-SHAKESPEARE-Disgraced-judge-Constance-Briscoe-jail-leg-tag.html

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]