The complainant alleged that the judge constantly fell asleep during his civil case, in which he was the plaintiff and which had taken seven years to get to trial

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The complainant alleged that the judge constantly fell asleep during his civil case, in which he was the plaintiff and which had taken seven years to get to trial. He felt that the case should be “reheard” and that the judge should be “cautioned” about sleeping in further trials.

The judge denied that he slept during the course of the trial. He took 117 pages of detailed notes, and was not aware of either sleeping or giving the impression of sleeping. The file was referred to a three-member Panel, which concluded there was little doubt the judge closed his eyes during the trial, and during another trial identified during the course of further inquiries. However, the information was in conflict on whether the judge was really asleep, or merely gave the impression of being asleep. Any further inquiries would require measures that, in the opinion of the Panel, would be not only intrusive and potentially disruptive, but unlikely to yield a definitive resolution of the factual dispute. The Panel preferred to deal with the matter in a more constructive and remedial way. The judge had become sensitized by the complaint and had undertaken to be more vigilant in the future. His senior judge had indicated he would monitor the situation for any further sign of a problem. The complainant was thanked for drawing the matter to the attention of the Council, as it is often only through such complaints that judges are made aware of such concerns. He was informed that the Court of Appeal was the appropriate avenue to determine whether a case should be reheard, and that the Panel had noted the matter was scheduled to be heard by the appropriate appellate court.