The first High Court judge to be open about his homosexuality has revealed that he had to face questions about his sex life by a “special tribunal” of inquisitors when he applied to be a part-time recorder.
“What followed was somewhat bizarre and depressing,” Sir Adrian Fulford told a meeting about diversity in the law, The Times reports.
“The underlying theme was that I should simply withdraw my application.
“This was presented by questions to the effect of: we have just given you silk, surely that is enough? Do you really have to pursue this?
“They then directed their focus, in a somewhat dramatic way, on what may or may not happen behind my closed bedroom door.”
Sir Adrian said he was then asked if he enjoyed sado-masochistic sex.
“I was conventional to the point of innocence under the duvet, but it seems extraordinary that such a question could be put without any possible foundation.”
He was appointed an assistant recorder, or part-time judge, in 1994.
Mr Justice Fulford has been a barrrister since 1978, and became a QC in 1994.
His appointment as a High Court judge in 2002 was the first time that an openly homosexual QC had been appointed to the court.
Mr Justice Fulford, known outside court as Sir Adrian, was subsequently elected at the United Nations in 2003 to serve as a judge on the International Criminal Court.
He has spoken before about homophobia in the legal profession.
In a speech at Queen Mary University last year he recalled his experiences.
“In my early days, I defended countless men on gross indecency and importuning charges. And I can vividly recall the raw hostility that came flooding, first in the direction of my clients and pretty quickly, my way when some of the older pin-stripped prosecutors and dinosaur judges realised not only was the defendant gay but horror of horrors also was his barrister,” he said.
“To be out as a practitioner in the year 1978, which is the year I was called, was something of a rollercoaster of a ride. Some of my colleagues were fantastic, others were simply gross in their rudeness and prejudices.
“People lost jobs, families were destroyed, lives were broken by the large number of prosecutions of men for such absurdities as allegedly chatting up other men in places such as Old Brompton Rd, thereby ‘persistently importuning for an immoral purpose.’
“It sounds quite ludicrous to think of those court cases now. Policemen in supposedly provocative tight t-shirts and jeans, acting effectively as agent-provocateurs along that stretch of road between the Colherne pub and the Brompton cemetery in Earls Court.
“And that was something that was repeated in every town and city, the length and breadth of the country. What a waste of time and money. What warped morality and how unbelievably destructive it was.”