A judge told a woman appealing her driving conviction he was ‘not a priest, I’m a judge of English law’ after being asked if he was ‘familiar with the premise that all of English law is dependent upon biblical law’.

Henley woman Sonia Dundury, 51, had sought to appeal her conviction and £660 fine for failing to identify the driver of a Chrysler caught doing 36mph in a 30 zone in Marlow, Bucks, on March 17, 2020.

She was represented in court by a ‘Mckenzie friend’, the name given to someone without legal training but allowed by the judge to help a defendant represent themselves.

The ‘friend’, who gave his name as Mike Mathewson, was asked by Judge Michael Gledhill QC if he had any questions for Thames Valley Police staff member Caroline Speed, who detailed the letters the police had sent to Ms Dundury’s home telling her of the speeding offence and asking her to identify who had been driving the Chrysler in March.

“Are you familiar with the premise that all of English law and all of English legislation sits squarely upon and is dependent upon biblical law?” he asked the judge, who had already reminded him he was asking questions of the witness rather than the bench.

Judge Gledhill replied: “That is not an appropriate question for this witness or indeed any witness.”

The friend’s claim there was a requirement for the ‘testimony of two or three witnesses’ found little favour with the judge.

The judge, who as a practising barrister regularly appeared in the church courts and once represented pressure group Christian Voice in their libel action alleging blasphemy by Jerry Springer the Opera, told him: “I’m not dealing with biblical law. I’m not a Rabbi, I’m not a priest, I’m a judge of English law.”

When the friend went on to claim that the Criminal Procedure Rules, the rulebook for how criminal courts are run, required the testimony of ‘two or three witnesses’, Judge Gledhill bit back: “You are here to assist. You are not assisting.” He warned the ‘friend’ that if he asked another ‘irrelevant’ question he would be asked to leave the courtroom.

Ms Dundury would not go into the witness stand to give evidence in her own defence, instead telling the judge from her her position in the well of the court that ‘my word is my bond’. “I don’t wish to give evidence, I wish to give a fact,” she said – adding that she had made a complaint to the Ministry of Justice about how the case had been ‘managed’.

Her appeal was dismissed and the court ordered she pay £330 in costs. She was fined £660, given six penalty points on her licence and ordered to pay £316 at the magistrates’ court.

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