A controversial judge fired a parting shot at his critics as he stepped down, claimed they had shown a ‘profound ignorance of the facts’.Yes, it’s none other than our old pal, Judge Julian Hall. Who finally hung up the gavel and retired.
And that ‘parting shot at his critics’..?:
Judge Hall told his leaving party this week: “I’ve tried to be positive and constructive in passing my sentences.Guilty as charged, you crazy old coot!
“It has sometimes attracted the attention of the Attorney General and the Court of Appeal – but at the moment I’m on a winning streak – and it has got me into trouble with the Press.”
The Oxford resident said the worst criticism was from Internet commentators whose “keyboards are steeped in vitriol”, adding to attacks from news-papers and ‘experts’.
Judge Anthony King said his colleague was ‘renowned for his fairness and his humanity’. He said: “Above all, he’s always been his own man, never afraid to go out on a limb to do what he knew would be justice.”Maybe we’ve been misjudging the
Well, the ‘Oxford Mail’ helpfully lists a few of his triumphs so we can make our own minds up:
Sentences passed by Judge Hall that made the headlines included: October 2007: The Court of Appeal doubles the two-year sentence given by Judge Hall to child rapist Keith Fenn after an outcry by campaign group Phoenix Chief Advocates. The result was reported by the Mail as a triumph for justice.Looks like the press and those ‘keyboard warriors’ have it right…
May 2008: The Court of Appeal backs Judge Hall’s decision to give a paedophile a three-year supervision order, rather than jailing him. Callum Witheridge, 18, molested a girl and young boy.
October 2008: Victims’ campaigner Sara Payne says Judge Hall’s sentencing of Witney paedophile Colin Lyons, 19, is “unduly lenient in the extreme”. He was given a three-year community order.
February 2009: Judge Hall lets a female teacher who admitted two counts of sexual activity with a 15-year-old boy walk free, after saying he was not sure she harmed him. Catherine Armstrong, 33, receives a 12-month suspended prison sentence after the teenager, who has learning difficulties, asks Judge Hall to “be nice to her” during sentencing.
December 2009: Judge Hall’s sentencing of violent robber John Shirley, 24, is increased by a senior judge. Shirley was jailed for six-and-a-half years for a violent crime spree which included pistol-whipping a shopkeeper and bursting into a couple’s home with a meat cleaver. Lord Justice Hughes increased it to nine years.
Fare thee well, Hall. Let’s hope we don’t see your like again.