The attorney who told the jury the judge had spoken of “absolute nonsense” was fined

A general view of the main entrance to Snaresbrook Crown Court on Holybush Hill, Snaresbrook, east London.

At the trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court in London in 2016, Jacqueline Vallejo was ‘rude and unprofessional’ to the judge (Image: PA).

A lawyer was suspended after telling a jury the judge hearing the case had spoken “absolute nonsense”.

Jacqueline Vallejo has also been fined £2,000 after continuing to behave in a “rude and unprofessional” manner, a conduct committee has been told.

At the trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court in London, which took place from February to March 2016, the crime specialist made several “disrespectful” comments to the jury.

Ms. Vallejo, who had practiced law for almost 20 years at the time, asked sarcastically, “Is your honor running out?”

She also told the judge, “Don’t try to make me sound like an idiot,” the Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service at the Council of the Inns of Court heard.

The conflict began when Garden Court Chambers’ criminal defense attorney refused to cooperate with prosecutors despite being asked to do so by the judge.

The judge warned her not to delay or distract from the trial, to which Ms Vallejo replied, “Well, that’s exactly what you’re doing.”

When the judge later asked her to clarify some evidence, she said she “already explained it.”

Judges mallet with British flag in background. Jurisdiction icon.

Jacqueline Vallejo was suspended after she said the judge spoke “absolute nonsense” (Image: Getty Images / iStockPhoto)

Ms Vallejo added she felt “compelled” to accept the charges, according to the hearing.

The panel was told she was “inappropriately” argumentative and responded to the judge with an “unhelpful tone, attitude and approach,” and both talked over her and cut her off.

She responded to the judge by saying, “I cannot force my client to make a statement of defense. What part of it doesn’t your honor understand?”

Ms Vallejo went on to say it was the “fifth time Your Honor has asked me to sit” when asked to be seated, then told the judge she did not need to be asked to sit.

When the unnamed judge finally warned her about her behavior, Ms Vallejo told the hearing, “If Your Honor wants to do something about me and my behavior, that’s fine… However, I would prefer that you do it sooner rather than later.”

The hearing heard she was “abrupt and disrespectful” and suspended her for four months. She must pay her £2,000 fine within a year.

The panel concluded: “[Ms Vallejo] has failed in her duty to the court in the administration of justice by being impolite and unprofessional.”

The veteran attorney worked on the 2008 Salsa Spy case, in which an army translator and salsa dance instructor was found guilty of spying for Iran in Afghanistan.

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Justin Scaccy

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