5 Times Judge John Deed Took On The Establishment

He may be a High Court judge, but John Deed always takes the side of ordinary folks against the Establishment.

Judge John Deed


What do you do if a person on trial for a terrible crime happens to be an informant for MI5? Do you give him a free pass because of his importance to "national security"? Not if you're Deed, you don't. A stickler for that small thing known as "justice", Sir John was having none of it when the Lord Chancellor's Department pressured him to be lenient towards an informant accused of beating his wife with a pipe.

Not only that, but the man had also apparently used boiling water on his victim. Horrified by the accusations, Deed was determined to treat the informant as he would any other low-life. The fact that it would seriously wind up his nemesis (and Establishment figure) Sir Ian Rochester was just the icing on the cake.


There are three passions in Deed's life: his dog, his women, and the English legal system. And when the latter was threatened by an over-zealous Home Secretary, Deed wasn't about to take it lying down. This particular story revolved around a gang member shot by three rivals - a thorny case which got thornier still when a witness was killed, and the jury appeared to have been compromised.

This was all the excuse the Home Secretary needed to push forward a bold new concept: jury-free trials. After all, it would neatly skip over the whole issue of jury tampering, right? And eradicating the jury would of course lighten the load on the judicial system's wallet. Would Deed risk his position by fighting against the move? You bet he would.


A 19-year-old is killed on his first day at a construction site. Tragic accident, or criminal negligence? It didn't take long for Deed to work things out when the details were put before him, and it soon became clear that construction firm director Mike Briggs was a petty tyrant who cared not a jot for health and safety nonsense.

Our dashing judge was determined to send Briggs down for corporate manslaughter, but, before you can say "any objections?", Deed found himself up against sinister Establishment forces who wanted the charges against Briggs dropped due to his political allegiances. Deed was back in his familiar position as champion of the public, and doing a fine job of not being intimidated by Sir Joseph Channing glowering at him over the rim of his whisky glass.


Sometimes the Establishment threatens Deed, and sometimes it tries to bribe him. A foolish move, since few people are less likely to be "bought" than the unashamedly idealistic judge. Yet they tried it anyway, when Deed dealt with the case of a murdered prostitute, whose killer looked to be the staggeringly wealthy member of a Middle Eastern royal family.

It soon became sickeningly obvious that the entire trial was being tampered with - perhaps because the killer was in the UK to negotiate a multi-billion pound aerospace contract? Hmm, perish the very thought. When Deed himself was offered a plum role as a judge in the Court of Appeal, it seemed clear that certain forces in the government wanted the "right" outcome in the trial. But for Deed, there was right... and there was RIGHT.


When it comes to unstoppably powerful forces, they don't come much more intimidating than pharmaceutical giants - what conspiracy theorists like to refer to as "Big Pharma". The case itself was a horrible one, involving a depressed soldier who took his life, and his son's life, at the same time. It was then revealed that the soldier had been taking legal action against a pharmaceutical company in the aftermath of some very dodgy vaccines he'd been given.

Used as a guinea pig, the soldier had been left mentally shattered, and it was clear that the pharma firm would stop at nothing to cover their tracks - even if it meant having Deed put under surveillance. Not only was Deed ready to square up to them, but he even went out on a limb by accusing a fellow judge of corruption in the case, triggering a constitutional crisis. Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you rock the boat to get things done. Sir John, we salute you.