Britain’s most high-profile black woman judge, Constance Briscoe, has been arrested by police.
The 55-year-old was questioned by Kent Constabulary before being bailed pending further inquiries.
‘A 55-year-old woman was arrested in Clapham, south London, on Saturday October 6. She was interviewed by officers,’ Kent Police said in a statement.
Her arrest means that she will not be able to sit as a judge while being investigated concerning matters which cannot be revealed for legal reasons.
A spokeswoman for the Office for Judicial Complaints said in a statement: ‘The Lord Chief Justice and Lord Chancellor have suspended Constance Briscoe from the judiciary pending the outcome of the police investigation into the allegations against her. It would be inappropriate to comment further whilst the investigation is active.’
Ms Briscoe has been a controversial figure and was unsuccessfully sued by her own mother over revelations in her autobiography.
The leading barrister and part-time judge wrote ‘Ugly’ a memoir about her grim childhood in Kennington, South London, which charted in agonising detail her difficult younger years.
In the book, Ms Briscoe alleges that her Jamaican mother Carmen and stepfather Garfield Eastman regularly beat her as a child and repeatedly criticised her looks, once refusing to buy her school photograph with the words: ‘You is ugly.’
Once her mother allegedly said: ‘Look at those lips – you didn’t get them from my side of the family. Why don’t you use them to clear out the blocked sink?’
Ms Briscoe also describes the extraordinary lengths she has gone to not to be ‘ugly’ any more in the sequel to her memoirs, Beyond Ugly, published in 2008.
She has had cosmetic operations to narrow and straighten her nose, to slim her lips, to remove eye bags, to whiten her teeth and narrow her feet.
She had two children, Martin, 24, and Francesca, 22, from a 12-year relationship with Adam Wilson, a lawyer.
Until 2010 she was with Anthony Arlidge QC, and in August she publicly slammed her former lover, aged 76, after he chose to leave her for a woman who was 25, after 12 years together.
‘He’s not having a midlife crisis,’ she said.
‘He’s not having a late crisis. This is a late, late, late crisis.
‘Of course, I was terribly upset. I’d been with him a long time, but I think men get to a certain age where they press the bonkers button.’
She and Mr Arlidge met in a café at the Old Bailey in 2000.
Ms Briscoe had taken a law degree at Newcastle University before being called to the Bar in 1983.
She became a part-time judge in 1996.
Earlier this year it was reported Ms Briscoe is writing a crime novel and looking at the possibility of finding some work in television.