Brazilian cleaner accused of blackmailing judges walks free

BRAZILIAN cleaner Roselane Driza walked free from court yesterday after charges against her were dropped.

She had been due to face a second trial accused of blackmailing a woman judge and stealing sexy videos from a second judge.

High Court appeal judges had ordered the retrial after new evidence casting doubt on the character of the woman judge, known as J, was presented by the defence.

But the Old Bailey was told yesterday that Judge J and Ms Driza’s former lover, Judge Mohammed Ilyas Khan, were too ill to testify against her.

Ms Driza, 37, who did not have a work permit and was working illegally, was convicted in October, last year, of trying to prise £20,000 from J, who was then an immigration judge.

Judge Khan, 61, who was also an immigration judge, was living with Ms Driza and called her “chilli hot stuff”.

Ms Driza, from south London, was jailed for 33 months but was given bail after the appeal in February.

The new trial was due to take place in two weeks but Judge Martin Stephens yesterday entered formal not guilty verdicts and discharged Ms Driza.

She said: “I am very happy. Justice has been done.”

She put her arms in the air and shouted “freedom”.

Asked if she was still a cleaner, she replied: “No.”

But her barrister, Frances Oldham, QC, complained that J was allowed to keep her anonymity while Driza had been “vilified” by being labelled a blackmailer.

Details of the appeal can now be revealed. Judges heard that statements provided by nine other immigration judges and Judge J’s former husband cast new light on her credibility.

Mrs Oldham argued that it disclosed a different character from the one Judge J chose to portray herself as — a professional woman of high integrity whose word could be believed and who did not use bad language.

The appeal judges also heard that Judge J’s former husband had claimed that during their marriage she had displayed extreme xenophobia, regularly swore and treated people she believed to be her inferiors with contempt.

He also said that during the contested custody proceedings which followed their separation and divorce, Judge J gave evidence which was disbelieved by the judge hearing the matter.

Material provided by the nine judges, which dealt with Judge J’s behaviour as a colleague, spoke of her use of bad language and of her intemperate behaviour.

In particular, it was claimed that she made what was said to be a false allegation of assault against a judge.

Lord Justice Latham said: “it is, in our view, capable of having affected the verdicts of the jury.”

The British Office for Judicial Complaints said it would now want to review the investigations into the conduct of the two judges.

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