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Stuart Hall judge in Walsall gay sauna link

Walsall | News | Published:

Fresh controversy surrounded the Stuart Hall trial today as it emerged the judge who jailed him once had to quit his job over a visit to a Walsall gay sauna.

Andrew Russell QC sparked controversy when he jailed the 83-year-old former It's A Knock Out star to 15 months jail for 14 counts of indecent assault on girls as young as nine. The Attorney General is now reviewing the sentence he imposed.

But Mr Russell was making headlines again today as it emerged he previously resigned his role as a recorder after a visit to the Greenhouse Health Centre in Walsall back in 1996. It was reported that he spent 30 minutes with two men in the club's so-called 'dark room'', on the second floor of the property which is just 50 yards from Darlaston Police Station.

However he was later reinstalled and although he admitted visiting the site he disputed the details of what happened.

Judge Russell, who has also recently been appointed to oversee the sex assault trial of Coronation Star Bill Roache, was a part-time judge and well-known Manchester barrister at the time of the incident.

Speaking in 1996 he said he visited the premises after receiving some distressing personal news and he had felt he needed to escape for a couple of hours. He told how his life had been 'wrecked' and called for both him and his family to be 'left in peace'.

Although he resigned from his post as a judge he had said the description of what happened was 'factually inaccurate' in some respects and 'exaggerated'.

He was reinstated in 2000 and went on to rise to become a senior circuit judge within six years. A judiciary spokesman said: "He strongly disputes and continues to dispute the details of what is alleged to have happened inside the premises, although he admitted he did visit them."

In May 2001, Lord Irvine reinstated him as a recorder on the Northern circuit. Judge Russell QC applied to become a circuit judge in 2004. Following an open competition conducted by the Commission for Judicial Appointments, Judge Russell was appointed as a full-time circuit judge by Lord Falconer as Lord Chancellor. In 2005 he became senior circuit judge at Preston court.

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