Family court judge criticised for ‘outdated’ rape views facing investigation following complaint

A family court judge criticised for having “outdated” views about sexual assault is the subject of an investigation following a complaint.

Judge Robin Tolson recently came under fire because of the conclusions he drew in a case in which a woman alleged that a former partner had raped her.

The judge had made a ruling in August following a private hearing at the Central Family Court in London.

He is now the subject of an investigation following a complaint to the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO).

The JCIO on Monday issued a “confirmed statement regarding the JCIO complaint for His Honour Judge Tolson” – after being asked whether a complaint had been made.

A spokesman said in a statement: “A complaint has been received by the JCIO in relation to a family case heard in August 2019 and is being considered in accordance with the regulations.”

The woman and her former partner are embroiled in a dispute centred on their child.

They are separated and their son lives with his mother.

Family court litigation began after the man asked to be allowed to spend time with the boy.

The woman, who objected, said the man had twice raped her.

He disputed her allegations.

Judge Tolson was asked to make findings concluded that the man had the “better of the argument”.

He said his “concern” about one of the woman’s allegations centred on the idea that “the mother did nothing physically to stop the father”.

“In particular, given the position in which intercourse was occurring, because the mother was not in any sense pinned down on this occasion, but could easily, physically, have made life harder for the father,” he said. “She did not do so.”

The judge also said the woman “took no immediate action to report the matter”.

A High Court judge earlier this year ordered a new hearing after the woman appealed and said Judge Tolson had “outdated views” on sexual assault.

“The logical conclusion of this judge’s approach is that it is both lawful and acceptable for a man to have sex with his partner regardless of their enjoyment or willingness to participate,” said Ms Justice Russell, who analysed the woman’s appeal at a public hearing in the Family Division of the High Court. “The judgment was so flawed as to require a retrial.”

The JCIO spokesman did not say what the nature of the complaint was or who had made it.

A statement was issued in response to a question from a journalist.

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