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'Escort' judge in return to legal world.

Byline: Robin Turner

A TOP judge who stood down after claims over his relationship with a rent boy has applied to rejoin the legal profession as a barrister.

Married father-of-two Gerald Price QC, who is believed to divide his time between homes in Cardiff Bay, Cowbridge and Carmarthen, resigned from the judiciary last summer following claims of a nine-month relationship with a 26-year-old man he met through an escort website.

He was reported in a newspaper in 2009 to have allowed Christopher Williams to sit next to him on the court bench and resigned after an official inquiry found he had brought the judiciary into disrepute.

According to the News of the World, Mr Price - who presided over hundreds of trials in Cardiff, Swansea and Carmarthen Crown Courts in his nine-year career as a judge - set Mr Williams up in a flat in Swansea and paid him pounds 420 a month for what was described as a "sex season ticket".

After the claims became public Price, 61, was suspended while the Office for Judicial Complaints and then a review body panel began a nine-month investigation.

He resigned before the review body panel upheld an original decision that he should be removed from office .

However, it has now emerged the former judge has been given a licence to practice as a barrister by the Bar Council.

The decision is now being considered by the Bar Standards Board, the barristers' regulatory body.

Rachel Podolak, communications manager at the Bar Standards Board, said: "Following his resignation from the circuit bench on June 30, 2010, Gerald Price QC applied to the Bar Council, as the approved regulator of the bar, for a practising certificate to enable him to resume his practice at the bar.

"There is nothing in the practising certificate regulations annexed to the bar's code of conduct which either prevents a former judge from applying for a practising certificate or permits the Bar Council to refuse to issue one to a former member of the judiciary.

"A practising certificate was therefore granted from January 1, 2011.

"The Bar Standards Board, the independent regulator of the Bar, is aware of the circumstances which led to the resignation of the judge from office and of the decision to issue a practising certificate and is considering the matter.

"No further action can be taken at this time."

Toby Craig, head of communications at the Bar Council, said: "There is nothing which we can meaningfully add to that statement."

A member of the legal profession in South Wales, who asked not to be named, said: "It is highly unusual for a judge to go 'back into the ranks', as it were.

"But it must be remembered that he was good enough as a barrister to become a judge and that he has not broken any laws."

The former judge, an anglican lay preacher since 1969 and a former Tory parliamentary candidate, has two children with his wife, Theresa.

Mr Price has never issued any comment about the matter.

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* Gerald Price QC, who resigned from the judiciary last year after claims of a relationship with Christopher Williams, right, has applied to rejoin the legal profession as a barrister
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 9, 2011
Words:533
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