Man who attacked judge during court hearing is jailed for 18 months

Judge John Devaux

Judge John Devaux - Credit: Archant

A MAN who attacked a judge and knocked off his wig has been jailed for 18 months after admitting contempt of court.

Fitness instructor Paul Graham, 27, of Quendon Place, Haverhill, was held in cells at Ipswich Crown Court overnight following the assault on Judge John Devaux in court number two yesterday.

Judge Devaux had just sentenced his brother, Philip Graham, 30, of the same address, to 30 months in prison for causing death by dangerous driving, when he left the public gallery and vaulted over a gate to get behind the judge’s bench.

Appearing in handcuffs and wearing a black vest top before Judge David Goodin this morning, Paul Graham admitted contempt.

Throughout the hearing, he was flanked in the dock by three security guards and an extra guard stood by the exit as a precaution.

Judge Goodin described how police officers in the case had restrained Paul Graham before security guards led him away.

He added that the High Sheriff of Suffolk Sir Edward Greenwell and a local clergyman who had been sitting alongside Judge Devaux “did their best to bring the attack to an end”.

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“When the judge had passed the inevitable sentence of imprisonment, you left the public gallery at speed, travelled down the side of the court very fast, vaulted over the wooden gate at the side of the bench, physically attacked Judge Devaux by punches which actually caused no physical injury,” he said.

“That conduct was disruptive, insulting and intimidating. It was a contempt of court.”

He added: “We have in this country courts which are open to the public, but what you did was an attack on justice, on the administration of justice, an attack on the rule of law.

“Any violent physical attack on the judge or any member of court staff or officer of the court must be dealt with severely.”

Richard Potts, mitigating, said his client did not accept he threw punches but accepted there had been a struggle and that he had behaved in an intimidating manner.

He added: “He has instructed me to apologise unreservedly on his behalf.

“He is a physically fit man and had he really wished to do real physical harm, there is no doubt he could have done so.

“It was a spontaneous act borne out of high emotion. It was an outpouring of grief.

“There is going to be a substantial diminution in the family as a result of both brothers being in custody.”

He added that Paul Graham had a university education and was qualified as a security guard and personal trainer.

Philip Graham was convicted after a trial earlier this year of killing father-of-two Derek Foster, 37, of Winstanley Road, Saffron Walden, when his car hit the victim’s motorcycle on the B1054 in July last year.

Mr Foster’s widow and family were in court at the time of the attack.