Recorder Philip Cattan, a respected and experienced Manchester barrister, is accused of falling asleep during a child rape trial at Manchester Crown Court.
The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) confirmed it was looking into the allegation against Cattan, who was presiding over the trial of John Quigley.
A complainant alleged that Cattan nodded off as a young alleged rape victim was giving evidence via videolink in Quigley’s trial.
Quigley, 49, of Burnage, Manchester, has plead not guilty to a number of sex offences, including the rape of a child under 13.
The Jewish judge stopped the trial following the allegation. The jury were discharged and the trial will now be relisted as soon as possible.
A spokesman for the JCIO said: “The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office is aware of the allegation that Recorder Philip Cattan fell asleep during a trial at Manchester Crown Court. The matter is being considered in accordance with the Judicial Conduct Rules 2013.”
Cattan serves as a part-time judge in Manchester, where he has presided over a number of high-profile cases, including a defence trial relating to the 2001 Oldham riots. He has declined to comment on the claim.
Cattan is not the first judge to be accused of snoozing in the court. In 2002, Judge Gabriel Hutton was disciplined after he fell asleep during a rape trial at Gloucester crown court, causing it to be abandoned.