Lewes Crown Court
Lewes Crown Court is a Crown Court in Lewes, East Sussex, England. It is housed in the Lewes Combined Court Centre which it shares with Lewes County Court in the Lewes High Street. The Portland stone building, originally established as East Sussex County Hall, was designed by John Johnson and built between 1808 and 1812.
It is the first tier Crown Court Centre for the whole of Sussex and is presided over by a Senior Circuit Judge, known as the Resident Judge. The present Resident Judge is His Honour Judge Richard Brown DL who also holds the title of Honorary Recorder of Brighton & Hove. He has been in post for 17 years. There are 4 Crown courts at Lewes, 4 at Hove and 2 in Brighton, making it a 10 Crown court centre. There are about 10 full-time Circuit Judges based at the Centre, and they are assisted from time to time by part-time Judges, known as Recorders.
A number of very high profile criminal trials have taken place at Lewes including the case of Roy Whiting (convicted of the murder of Sarah Payne), Graham Coutts (convicted of the murder of schoolteacher Jane Longhurst), Andrew Wragg (manslaughter of a seriously ill child of the family) These follow on from other notorious murder trials in the past, including serial killer John George Haigh.
The Crown Court holds an open day in September of each year. The public can visit the whole of the building. This includes the cells, the docks in each court and even the Judges chair. In September 2009 3500 people visited the Crown Court, a record number.
In April 2011 the New Sussex Opera Group were permitted to perform the Gilbert and Sullivan opera Trial by Jury in Court number one. The organiser, and one of the star performers, was former Judge Michael Kennedy QC.
- 1920: The "Crumbles Murder case" in which Jack Field and William Thomas were convicted of the murder of Irene Munro.
- 1930: The trial of Sidney Harry Fox for the murder of his mother for insurance money.
- 1934: The acquittal of Tony Mancini for the "Brighton Trunk Murder" of Violet Kaye, to which he later confessed.
- 1949: John George Haigh, the "acid bath murderer".
- 1956: John Bodkin Adams, previously acquitted of murder at the Old Bailey, was tried at Lewes for collateral offences.
- 2001: Roy Whiting was tried and convicted of the murder of Sarah Payne
- 2004: Graham Coutts was tried and convicted of the murder of schoolteacher Jane Longhurst.
- 2004: Andrew Wragg was acquitted of murdering his son and sentenced to two years for manslaughter.
- 2009: Martin and Nathan Winter, and Alpha Fireworks Ltd were found guilty of the manslaughter of two East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service firefighters in the 2006 Marlie Farm Fireworks Explosion.
- 2010 Mrs Bridget Kathleen Gilderdale was acquitted of the attempted murder of her daughter, Lynn Gilderdale (an ME sufferer)
- "The Ultimate Crime". www.real-crime.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
- Wilson, Colin; Patricia Pitman (1984). Encyclopedia of Murder. London: Pan Books. pp. 239–240. ISBN 0-330-28300-6.
- Albert Borowitz (2002). Blood & ink: an international guide to fact-based crime literature. Kent State University Press. p. D-43. ISBN 0-87338-693-0.
- F. Tennyson Jesse (1950). "Sidney Fox". In James H. Hodge. Famous Trials III. Penguin Books. pp. 43–96.
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