Questions asked as crooked legal eagle is freed early

A SUCCESSFUL Hampstead lawyer and television producer who became the first barrister to be jailed has been released after just two months in prison

Marc Mullen

A SUCCESSFUL Hampstead lawyer and television producer who became the first barrister to be jailed has been released after just two months in prison.

Bruce Hyman, who has written more than 150 TV and radio shows including Unreliable Evidence with Clive Anderson, was sentenced to a year in prison after pleading guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice.

The 50-year-old, who retrained as a barrister after his high-flying career in broadcasting, was acting for Karen Sadler Young in a child custody battle when he sent a forged email with details of a bogus Court of Appeal ruling to her husband, Simon Eades.

But Mr Eades traced the source of the email to an internet café on Tottenham Court Road and uncovered footage of Hyman sending it.

Mr Eades, a financier from Wiltshire, is furious that Mr Hyman was released on December 20 after serving just two months.

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He said: "No reasons have been given as to why he has been released after just two months. It stinks.

"At the sentencing, the judge recommended he should serve at least six months in prison. So it is a very good question as to why a barrister found guilty of perverting the course of justice would be released after just two months and it is a question my MP Andrew Murrison has raised with Jack Straw."

Mr Murrison's office said he would comment once he received a response from the Lord Chancellor, Mr Straw.

Senior lawyer Sir Geoffrey Bindman from Highgate said: "It's very surprising he has been released so soon when the judge recommended six months and it needs an explanation."

Ms Young, who used to work with Hyman at his Primrose Hill-based production company Above The Title, is now suing Mr Hyman for "substantial damages" after her case collapsed in the wake of his crime.

She said: "Sixteen months ago he did what he did and I know I am not going to be number one on his list of priorities - but I think he should address my damages.

"I have never even had an apology from him for what he did. He has been given a really easy ride."

Mr Hyman is believed to be under a home curfew order, which means he must stay at his Downshire Hill home.

When the Ham&High called at the Georgian home, a man answered the intercom but immediately hung up when our journalist identified himself.

Prior to being sentenced at Bristol Crown Court in September last year, more than 40 testimonials to Mr Hyman's character were presented to Judge Tom Crowther including one from Sir Mark Potter, president of the family division of the High Court.

Mr Eades has asked the Bar Standards Board to investigate Sir Mark's intervention.

At the end of each series of Unreliable Evidence, Mr Hyman would invite contributors to a meal at the exclusive Mark's Club in Mayfair.

In 2001, as well as senior judges, former Tory leader Michael Howard was a guest.

Ms Young added: "I really did see the old boy network in action."

A spokesman for the Law Society said they would not comment on individual cases.

The Bar Council said it could not comment on the case as there was a possibility it could be subject to a disciplinary investigation.