A MAGISTRATE who failed to inform a court of his position during a criminal hearing has been reprimanded by a judicial watchdog for ‘misconduct’ in public office.

Alexander Sinski was a prosecution witness in a court case after he accused another man of using threatening behaviour after a row over walking dogs on a lead.

Last year, Stephen I’Anson was accused of being aggressive and ‘getting into the face’ of Mr Sinski when they clashed in the grounds of Middleton St George Community Centre.

The pair had disagreed several times over Mr I’Anson’s habit of letting his dog run free, Sunderland Magistrates’ Court heard at the time.

During the trial, Mr Sinski told magistrates the pair ended up ‘nose to nose’ and how he could ‘feel his breath on my face’.

The court heard how the unsavoury row came more than a year after the pair first clashed during a public meeting to discuss dog-fouling issues in the town.

Mr I’Anson was cleared of all charges after his solicitor branded the row as ‘a storm in a tea cup - a quarrel, an argument between two men over a dog off its lead which has resulted in one of them being branded a criminal with a charge that can result in six months in prison’.

However, at the first listing of the case at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court, Mr Sinski had not informed fellow magistrates of his role – resulting in a disciplinary hearing carried out by the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office.

A spokesperson from the government body said: “Alexander Sinski JP, a magistrate from the County Durham & Darlington Bench, has received a warning after a disciplinary investigation found that he had failed to inform his bench chairman and justices’ clerk that he was a prosecution witness in a case due to be heard on the same bench. The case was heard by a different bench.

“The Lord Chancellor and Mrs Justice Cheema Grubb, on behalf of the Lord Chief Justice, concluded that Mr Sinski’s behaviour fell below the high standards expected of a judicial office holder and amounted to misconduct.”

Former parish councillor Mr Sinski stood for election for Middleton St George Parish Council in May last year but was unsuccessful.

In October 2017, he accused the authority of ignoring election rules while appointing a new co-opted member after a series of summer resignations hit the authority.

The former serviceman raised concerns after claiming a member was co-opted onto the council despite putting his name forward nine days after the closing date.

Last night, Mr Sinski could not be contacted for comment by The Northern Echo.