Outspoken judge Pickles dies

The controversial former judge James Pickles has died aged 85, it was announced yesterday.

Mr Pickles, who flouted the voluntary code that the judiciary do not speak out in public, and criticised the legal system for being infected by conservatism, complacency and conformity, died on Saturday at his home in Halifax.

One of his sons, Simon, said he had been unwell for a couple of years, though he remained keenly interested in current affairs.

Mr Pickles hit the headlines on a number of occasions.

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The decision to jail a young mother for helping shoplifters and send her ten-week-old baby to prison with her sparked a furore.

He was also criticised by the then Lord Chief Justice, Lord Lane, after he jailed a young mother who refused to give evidence against her former boyfriend.

But the judge was unapologetic, stating: "The only sentence people really take notice of is loss of liberty."