Portsmouth judge praised for 'measured' approach as he retires from Portsmouth Crown Court

A JUDGE praised for his ‘clear, calm and measured’ approach has retired after 18 years.

Thursday, 1st April 2021, 4:56 pm

Formerly Portsmouth’s most senior member of the judiciary, judge Roger Hetherington said he was ‘overwhelmed’ by the well wishes he received.

Fellow judges, barristers, court staff and those working in the criminal justice system paid tribute at a Portsmouth Crown Court valedictory on Thursday.

He was appointed a circuit judge in 2003 and served as the Honorary Recorder of Portsmouth - a ceremonial position making him the city’s second citizen.

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Judge Roger Hetherington at Remembrance Sunday Portsmouth - Armistice Centenary - held in Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, Hampshire, in 2018. Picture: Malcolm Wells (181111-2052)

Judge Hetherington has overseen notorious cases in the area, including jailing a man for 14 years for attempted murder who had tried to set fire to his ex-partner.

Paying tribute, barrister Jodie Mittell said he was ‘one of the most courteous, respectful judges’.

Matthew Farmer, a barrister, said judge Hetherington was ‘clear, calm and measured’.

The judge ‘doesn’t say much,’ said Robert Bryan who added he delivered judicial acknowledgment with a ‘nod of the head’.

Daniel Reilly added: ‘I consider myself, but also those who have appeared in Portsmouth over the last 18 years, to have been incredibly fortunate to have your honour as part of the fixtures and fittings of Portsmouth.’

He said the judge was ‘above all fair’.

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Old Bailey judge Sarah Munro QC, who previously dealt with Portsmouth cases, praised him for his humour and said he ‘always hit the right note and never offended’.

Current Honorary Recorder of Portsmouth judge Tim Mousley QC said his predecessor had ‘steered us through times of great change’.

Senior manager Eve Miller told the hearing - attended by many legal professionals and family by remote link - that he would be ‘very much missed’.

In response, the retiring judge said: ‘I’m so overwhelmed by the generosity of your remarks that I’m almost lost for words - almost but not entirely.’

He praised his wife and family for their support in his career, along with the support from staff. He said staff were ‘quite simply magnificent’.

To lawyers he added: ‘You really are very much at the sharp end working directly with often very difficult and damaged people, and that’s not just the judges.’

HHJ Hetherington will spend retirement with his wife and new Labrador puppy.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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