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Judge Removed From Case After Questioning BA Attorneys About His Missing Luggage

A judge who lost his composure after British Airways lost his luggage is recusing himself from a case involving the airline.

A high-profile judge is removing himself from a case against British Airways after the U.K. carrier lost his luggage during a recent flight. The Telegraph reports Justice Peter Smith, best known for his role in The Da Vinci Code copyright trial, will no longer preside over the case involving air cargo charges.

In 2010, the European Commission found British Airways guilty of colluding to fix air cargo prices, a verdict which led to the current dispute being heard by the high court.

During the trial, Smith reportedly questioned British Airways’ attorneys about the whereabouts of his own luggage, claiming it had gone missing on a recent flight while he was presiding over a separate case involving the airline. l When the attorneys declined to comment, the justice allegedly threatened to call the airlines’ chief executive to testify.

“What is inappropriate is the continued failure of your clients to explain a simple question,” Smith told the court. “Namely, what happened to the luggage?”

Smith’s questions prompted accusations of bias against British Airways, accusations the justice initially denied, noting in a court excerpt published by The Telegraph that he only wanted to know how his luggage could be lost by the carrier.

British Airways attorneys responded with a petition for Smith to be removed from the case. The justice — whose missing luggage “spontaneously” showed up at his home — agreed to walk away from the case, leaving the courts to assign a new justice.

[Photo: UPP via The Telegraph]

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