A High Court judge has apologized after his mobile phone rang during a hearing, filling the room with the sound of a classic 1960s tune.

Judge David Holland was assessing the concerns of environmental campaigners about the impact of the HS2 rail line when his handset’s ringtone, the rhythm and blues classic Soul Limbo, was heard.

“I am sorry,” said the judge as he switched off the phone in the court in London on Wednesday. “Very rude of me.”

The song, by American band Booker T and the MGs, was for many years used to introduce the BBC’s Test match cricket coverage.

He is not the only judge whose proceedings have been interrupted by phones going off and the justice system is showing signs of adapting to the technology.

In 2017, a different High Court judge, Mr Justice Holman, told a lawyer whose phone had rung that he did not mind if mobiles went off during hearings and urged the red-faced representative to answer it.

In 2018, a judge had a mobile phone conversation with an office clerk while overseeing a High Court hearing in London.

Judge Richard Todd answered a call from a member of staff in a bid to solve an administrative problem after his handset rang at the start of a trial.

Judge Holland, also a barrister, is a member of Lancashire County Cricket Club, Surrey County Cricket Club and the MCC, according to his chambers website.

Environmental campaigners are waiting for the judge’s ruling on their latest court fight.

HS2 bosses say protesters are unlawfully occupying land near a construction site in Hilling don, west London, and want Judge Holland to grant them “possession”.

Protesters disagree and have opposed HS2’s application.

Judge Holland finished analyzing evidence on Wednesday and is due to deliver a ruling soon.

 

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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