The judicial watchdog is investigating a complaint against the judge who spared a promising Oxford University student from jail time after she stabbed her boyfriend.
Ian Pringle QC handed Lavinia Woodward a 10-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, on Monday for knifing her then partner in a drunken assault last year.
Woodward, a 24-year-old medical student, was due to be sentenced earlier this year after admitting unlawful wounding.
But the judge caused anger after he gave her four months to prove herself and stay out of trouble due to her promising career as a surgeon.
Ian Pringle QC handed Lavinia Woodward (pictured) a 10-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, on Monday for knifing her then partner in a drunken assault last year
Woodward (pictured here on a night out) wept as the judge handed her to a 10-month sentence suspended for 18 months earlier this week
Judge Ian Pringle (left) caused anger after he gave Woodward (right) four months to prove herself and stay out of trouble due to her promising career as a surgeon
Oxford Crown Court heard Woodward was later admitted to a clinic for treatment for addictions to Class A drugs and alcohol, and an eating disorder.
A spokesman for the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) said: ‘The JCIO can confirm they have received a complaint against HHJ Ian Pringle QC.
‘Any findings of misconduct against judicial office holders are published on the JCIO website at the conclusion of investigations.’
The watchdog can ‘only deal with complaints about a judicial office-holder’s personal conduct’ and not a judicial decision’, according to its website.
The suspended sentence means Woodward will remain free unless she commits another crime.
Critics have argued that someone working on a supermarket checkout might not have attracted the same level of sympathy from the courts.
Woodward (circled) posed naked with her fellow students to raise money for the university’s LGBTQ society
The 24-year-old (shown left in an explicit picture sitting on the lap of a naked man) is seen arriving at court earlier this week
When the judge told her she was free to go, Woodward mouthed the words ‘thank you’ and hurried from dock in floods of tears.
Woodward’s lawyers said the student – who was supported by university staff at the hearing – had undergone a ‘sea change’ since coming off drugs during the wait to be sentenced and was now a ‘different woman’.
Judge’s controversial comments sparked national debate
Judge Ian Pringle sparked a national debate about sentencing and the criminal justice system when he postponed Woodward’s sentencing in May.
The told Oxford Crown Court: ‘It seems to me that if this was a one-off, a complete one-off, to prevent this extraordinary able young lady from not following her long-held desire to enter the profession she wishes to, would be a sentence which would be too severe.
‘What you did will never, I know, leave you but it was pretty awful, and normally it would attract a custodial sentence, whether it is immediate or suspended.’
The judge previously took the ‘exceptional’ step of delaying sentencing for four months and ordered her to remain drug free while she stayed at her mother’s villa in Milan, Italy.
He suspended the term after James Sturman QC, defending, had urged the judge to give Woodward a conditional discharge due to her ‘unique vulnerability, remorse and good character’.
He said: ‘She can’t even go to a nightclub in London, she’s so recognisable.’
Woodward’s barrister said in an earlier hearing that her dreams of becoming a surgeon were ‘almost impossible’ as her conviction would have to be disclosed.
If she qualified as a doctor and applied for registration, the General Medical Council could consider her application.
However the body would have to pass Woodward as ‘fit to practice’, which it is unlikely to do, according to many health experts, regardless of her avoiding a custodial sentence.
The court heard Woodward would not be returning to Oxford this year due to her notoriety.
Her lawyer, James Sturman QC, said she was considering whether to do a PhD abroad or to look for a research role at another university.
Woodward was studying at Christ Church (pictured), one of Oxford’s most prestigious colleges