Curse of Political Correctness, by Judge

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Byline: STEVE DOUGHTY

A RETIRING judge delivered a devastating attack on political correctness in the law yesterday.

Neil Denison, the Common Serjeant of London, called the thinking behind it 'sinister' and claimed it eroded free speech.

The 72-year- old judge also denounced the meddling of officials working for Lord Chancellor Lord Irvine. While the courts were suffering cutbacks, their only role was to distribute statistics, he said.

Judge Denison made his criticisms in his farewell speech in Court Number One at the Old Bailey, where he has been the second ranking judge since 1993.

He warned that politicians are using the courts as a 'political football', declaring : 'I look back over 40 years in the criminal law.

'I look around me at what is happening today and so attempt, probably misguidedly, to peer into the future. I don't like much of what I see. I see a court service with ever increasing layers of administration.

'I see a head office in the shape of the Lord Chancellor's department, constantly expanding, whose only raison d'etre seems the distribution of statistics.

'All this at a time when the places where the real work is done, namely the courts, are suffering continual and punitive cuts. …