The Governor yesterday ordered an official inquiry into whether Judge Brian Caird should be sacked for allegedly making false claims against two fellow judges. A judge from outside Hong Kong is likely to sit on the tribunal, which will be appointed this month. News of the inquiry - the first of its kind in the territory since 1847 - follows pressure from legislators and lawyers. But the announcement sparked fresh controversy with claims the inquiry's terms were too narrow. Judge Caird said two other District Court judges had tried to influence his handling of the trial of alleged fraudster Aaron Nattrass. He later retracted the allegations and an internal judiciary inquiry cleared Judge Clare Beeson and Judge Richard Hawkes. Acting Chief Justice Noel Power said the judge had magnified the importance of social conversations while suffering from insomnia. However, he then recommended to the Governor that a tribunal be appointed under the Letters Patent. While the decision was generally welcomed in the legal community, there was criticism of the limiting of the inquiry to the alleged misconduct of Judge Caird. The government statement announcing the inquiry said it would investigate 'whether Judge Caird should be removed from office for misbehaviour, in that he made false allegations'. Critics claimed this suggested he was already guilty and it was for the inquiry to decide his punishment. Paul Harris, defending Nattrass, accused the Governor of prejudging the issue by stating as a fact that the allegations made by Judge Caird were false. He said: 'It is very worrying that it has been framed in this way. We want to know exactly what was said to Judge Caird and in what circumstances. That is what the inquiry should look at.' Legislators, who yesterday held a special meeting into the affair, also accused the Government of prejudging the outcome of the inquiry. Independent legislator Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee said: 'I think the statement was very misleading because it says 'in that he made false allegations'. 'That seems to me to say that a conclusion has already been drawn by the Governor, which is rather unusual.' But Governor Chris Patten dismissed the criticism. 'The tribunal has the job of inquiring into the circumstances surrounding a particular piece of behaviour and then has to decide whether it should recommend dismissal,' he said. 'But the tribunal doesn't come to any decision before it sets out on the road of inquiry.' A government spokesman said it would be for the tribunal to decide whether the proceedings take place in public and which direction the investigation should take. If the tribunal recommends to the Governor that Judge Caird be removed, the final decision will then be referred to the Privy Council by the Queen. He could lose his job and pension. Judge Caird pulled out of the Nattrass trial on medical grounds and is on sick leave. He will be suspended as soon as the tribunal is appointed. The other judges will not be suspended and are likely to be called as witnesses.