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Sleeping Judge Criticised For Rape Trial Snooze

New South Wales Attorney-General Bob Debus says he hopes the Judicial Commission will have greater powers in future to intervene in cases where judges behaviour is questionable.
District Court Judge Ian Dodd has been criticised in the past for falling asleep on the bench, explaining the behaviour because he suffers from sleep apnoea.
An alleged rape victim has gone public saying Justice Dodd missed vital evidence and his regular snoring may have influenced the jury, who acquitted the accused rapist.
Mr Debus says a review of the commission's powers will hopefully prevent it happening in the future.
"Quite some time ago the judge sought treatment and has a clearance from a treating specialist," he said.
"That judge nevertheless has written a letter of apology to the young woman involved.
"Of course she deserves an apology and I haven't finished with the matter yet."

AAP (26-4-2005)

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Judge Snored But No Action To Be Taken

The NSW Judicial Commission has dismissed a complaint against a Sydney judge who reportedly fell asleep and snored through the evidence of an alleged rape victim.
The Daily Telegraph newspaper on Tuesday said Judge Ian Dodd had admitted to being asleep while a woman gave evidence about alleged sex attacks which began when she was six.
Documents obtained by the paper showed Judge Dodd snored as he slept for 15 minutes at a time.
The victim felt "destroyed and humiliated" and was concerned the judge's response may have influenced the jury's decision to rule the defendant not guilty.
The accused was later convicted and jailed for 12 years for a sexual assault on another person in a hearing before a different judge.
The Judicial Commission did not uphold the woman's complaint, stating in a letter that there was no evidence of the judge's "unresponsiveness".
"There was no evidence that the judge's condition had affected his understanding of what was going on during the trial or his rulings and directions," the commission stated.
Judge Dodd acknowledged he had fallen asleep, a problem apparently linked to the disorder known as sleep apnoea.
He apologised to the complainant in a letter to the commission, saying he had not been diagnosed of his condition at the time of the 2003 trial.
"(The complainant) feels that I did not treat her humanely and with courtesy and respect and that I was gruff and arrogant," Judge Dodd wrote.
"I apologise for any behaviour on my part which has caused her to feel that way."
The Telegraph reported that this was one of several cases in which the judge had been accused of falling asleep.
The complainant, now aged 30, has lobbied Premier Bob Carr to force the judge to face "serious disciplinary action".
"I want him removed from the bench," she said.
She also wrote to Attorney-General Bob Debus who stated in his reply that he intended to pursue "a number of unresolved issues with the commission".

AAP (26-4-2005)

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