By Duchess of Hackney

Hackney livin' n lovin'. Sarky frosty knickers always gobby, and perpetually pissed off for good reasons. Wind up merchant extraordinaire, but a nice old fashioned unusually unusual gal... Writing lots of wrongs.

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Now she can write more novels: Judge Constance Briscoe arrested at her home

Now she can write more novels: Judge Constance Briscoe arrested at her home

Even before Constance Briscoe became a judge I always thought she was a pretty cool broad and wish I had gotten to know her better. Just after she was called to the bar in the early 80′s, she and I worked at a grassroots organization on Kingsland High Road in Dalston. She was the confident assured young woman a few years older than me who told me she decided what she wanted to do with her life, after a school trip to a court. She had the kahunas to ask Mike Mansfied that day if she could do her pupillage under him. Years later she did. I was the dithering dreamer who dropped out of Uni and just wanted to get the hell out of Britain, which I did.Over the weekend one of the UK’s first female black judges Constance Briscoe was arrested at her Clapham home by officers from Kent police, taken to a South London police station to be interviewed and later released on bail pending further inquiries. Not surprisingly she has been suspended by The Lord Chief Justice and Lord Chancellor the judiciary, pending the outcome of the police investigation into the allegations against her. The police nor anyone else is not saying why she was arrested, but it didn’t stop my mum and I pondering it during a phone conversation last night. I allowed my already over blown imagination to run a muck with the possibilities only to be given a reality check by mum.

Just this summer her split from long time Partner, 75 yr old Anthony Alridge QC, had her making headlines again, after the media found out they had split, even though he decided to trade her in for a latest model blonde, young enough to be his grand-daughter last year. Briscoe who is 55, is young enough to be his daughter, which begs the question; next time he has another age related crisis will he wrassle with….. never mind, I won’t even go there, it’s way too disturbing to contemplate. As if their relationship wasn’t eventful enough, Alridge has yet to divorce his first wife whom he left, 30 years ago. Smart man, protect what’s yours and your children’s inheritance.

During last nights gossip with my mum, I suggested that since Alridge owned a country house in Kent, it may explain why Kent police are involved, I can understand being more than a little miffed if the old toad had his new fluff using her egg whisker in the kitchen. I’d personally want to thump her, but I have a feeling Briscoe is a bit more measured with her emotional reactions, even though I’d never put anything past anyone.

I was quite surprised at mum’s overwhelming sympathy for Briscoe last night, she wasn’t so sympathetic about airing her family misery tale in her book Ugly, if I remember, she [my mum] was quite scathing but not so last night. In our culture you don’t speak ill of the elderly and especially your parents.

Radio personality and blogger Iain Dale seems to think it’s a big deal.


Over on Guido Fawkes, they’re talking a different conspiracy, one that may have something to do with her involvement in the Huhne-Pryce trial. I still think it’s more personal, maybe because I would want to kick my rivals ass at some point or because I don’t buy the outward coolness and acceptance she portrays . In August The Telegraph reported:

“He told me that he had fallen in love,” Judge Briscoe remembers. “I didn’t know her age at the time. When he told me, I said, ‘Well if you love her more than me I’ll stand to one side.’

“’Oh,’ he said, ‘that’s very decent of you.’ Then the next day after this discussion I thought, ‘Actually I don’t think so.’

“So we had a discussion and I said, ‘Hold on a minute. I don’t think I am prepared to stand to one side.’

“He said, ‘I think I’m falling in love.’ I said, ‘OK, you’re falling in love. I’ll tell you what, go and have your affair and get it out of your system. When you’ve got it out of your system come back — it’s no big deal.”

I worked at Hackney Black People Association for a few months one summer in the early ’80′s and can’t remember if I was fired, if my term came to an end or if I just moved on. My mum knew someone within the organization and I was hired on a temp basis. Constance Briscoe was the in house legal eagle. I thought she had it together and even thought more of her after I went to her home in Clapham to meet her lodger who was a manager, artistic director or something for a French cosmetic company, I was interested in working for. That never materialized, but she did inspire me to buy my first property and gave some mortgage advice. Back then they were giving mortgages to donkeys and I qualified for one (a mortgage not a donkey).

I lost touch with her and 3 years later boarded a flight for New York, wound up in Los Angeles and later bought the black book of a madam I met in a bar in the French Quarters in New Orleans. My stay in the crescent city was short lived as I was asked to stop my business or face prison. Preferring my liberty to a Louisiana prison, I returned to Los Angeles, opened shop only to become a two time felon years later. It was a helluva ride though. Briscoe has also enjoyed a high flying career, worlds apart from mine and has become a colourful personality whose life post her first book, has been quite eventful.

I’m firmly in Team Briscoe’s corner and hope it’s nothing that will not impede her severely in her career and if it does, she can continue writing more crime novels.

Abbott and Briscoe go head to head – I know she didn’t come out of Kennington speaking like that……

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