The Honourable Mr Justice Stephen Rawley

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The Honourable Mr Justice Stephen Rawley, played by Maurice Denham, was featured in two episodes of the television series Porridge: "Poetic Justice" and "Rough Justice". He was waiting for his appeal to come through, having been indicted on charges of:

  • Being a party to criminal conspiracy
  • Forgery of legal documents under the Forgery Act 1913 and 1948, and
  • Accepting illicit payments as an Officer of the Crown

Fletcher says that these charges are merely "legal mumbo jumbo" being used to hide the fact that Rawley has been charged with "bribery and corruption". Rawley later admits his crimes were committed in order to satisfy the financial demands of his young mistress.

He is revealed to be a friend of the governor of the prison and is informed that he will have to share a cell with Fletcher and Godber.

As the first plot unfolds it is discovered that Rawley was responsible for sending Fletcher to prison in the first place as he was the judge at Fletcher's trial. Fletcher observes "When a judge sentences you to five years, you don't expect 'im to move in with you, do you?".

Rawley is given a "cushy" job in the prison whilst Harris is made to look after the pigs on the prison farm.

Near the end of the episode, McClaren, Harris and another inmate attempt to attack Rawley in an empty cell. However, Fletcher arrives on the scene and intervenes, advising them to remain on good terms with a friend of the governor. At the prisoners' suggestion, Rawley even implements an impromptu courtroom in the prison to hear inmate disputes.

It is eventually revealed that Rawley's appeal has come through and he leaves the prison a free man after the "Rough Justice" episode. As Rawley leaves however, he promises to be more open minded about cases that come before him in future.

The judge can be heard sentencing Fletcher to his current sentence during the title sequence. The voice heard is actually that of Ronnie Barker, not Maurice Denham.