Let sleeping dogs lie, says judge

BARTY the springer spaniel adds a welcome human touch to proceedings at Colchester County Court, according to his master Judge Nicholas Brandt.

Last week Judge Brandt rubbished claims that the elderly pet had distracted a defendant from conducting his own defence by snoring. He threw out an application for a retrial.

Speaking after the case, the judge said Barty was a great favourite among court staff and helped litigants feel more at home.

“He can be very useful as an icebreaker when I occasionally have to see a child in my room during a matrimonial suit,” he added.

He has heard of at least two former courtroom dogs. One, a retriever, used to sit beside his owner on a chair snarling at the advocates.