Oxford

Lavinia Woodward: Sentencing judge investigated

Lavinia Woodward Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Lavinia Woodward had ambitions to enter the medical profession

A judge who spared an Oxford University student jail after she stabbed her boyfriend is being investigated.

Ian Pringle QC gave Lavinia Woodward a suspended sentence for attacking her then partner in a drunken assault.

At an earlier hearing the judge said he believed a custodial sentence would damage the 24-year-old's career.

The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) confirmed it is investigating the judge's personal conduct after receiving a complaint.

Medical student Woodward had admitted the attack in December at her student accommodation at Christ Church College after drinking heavily.

Oxford Crown Court heard she was later admitted to a clinic for treatment for addictions to Class A drugs and alcohol, and an eating disorder.

On Monday she was given a 10-month jail sentence suspended for 18 months for inflicting unlawful wounding.

The case was the subject of huge debate about inequality in the criminal justice system, prompted by the judge deferring sentencing and describing the attack as "a complete one-off".

Image copyright PA
Image caption The judge said Woodward had shown a "strong and unwavering determination" to get over addiction

He had described Woodward as "an extraordinary able young lady" and said a custodial sentence would damage her hopes of becoming a surgeon.

Campaigners against male domestic abuse said Judge Pringle's decision risks putting male victims of domestic abuse off coming forward.

Mark Brooks, chairman of the ManKind Initiative, branded Woodward's sentence "unfair" and said she would have been expected to go to prison had she been a man.

A JCIO spokesman confirmed it "received a complaint against HHJ Ian Pringle QC" and that the findings would be published online.

According to its website, the watchdog can "only deal with complaints about a judicial office-holder's personal conduct - it cannot deal with complaints about judicial decisions or about case management".

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