James Burge

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Charles George James Burge, Q.C. (born, 8 October 1906; died, 6 September 1990, London, England) was an English criminal law barrister, most notable for his famous defense of Stephen Ward in the then notorious "Profumo Affair" in 1963. He is also remembered as John Mortimer's original inspiration for the fictional barrister Rumpole of the Bailey.

Burge was educated at Christs College, Cambridge, as an undergraduate commoner.

Ward was prosecuted for living on the immoral earnings of prostitution. He was defended by Burge, who, known as a mercurial Old Bailey junior, never quite recovered from the professional consequences of defending him in the scandal. No verdict was returned for Ward, as he committed suicide by overdosing on sleeping tablets on the last day of the trial.

Author and fellow barrister John Mortimer stated on several occasions that there were elements of Burge, especially Burge’s independence and total dedication to often unprepossessing clients, that he incorporated into the famous fictional character Rumpole of the Bailey.

Burge practiced in the chambers of RE Seaton, QC, an established "criminal set" in Queen Elizabeth Building, Temple, London.

He died at age 83, on 6 September 1990 and was cremated in Javea, Spain.

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