JUDGE Michael Pattwell is to retire from the bench at the end of next month after 21 years of service.
The outspoken district court judge made the announcement prior to a sitting of Midleton District Court, Co Cork yesterday.
Judge Pattwell, who is 66 and originally from Clonakilty, Co Cork, was appointed to the district court in 1990.
He has presided over cases in Fermoy, Mallow and Midleton for the last 13 years, following his appointment to District 20, in 1998.
Prior to that he was based in District 21 in Tipperary and Waterford for six years, and for the first two years following his appointment he worked in different parts of the country.
Speaking yesterday he said he “loved” his time as a judge. “That’s why people are surprised I’ve called it a day,” he said.
“I enjoyed it. It was a great privilege. Not many people get the privilege of sitting up there and making decisions on important issues. Any issue where you get a month in prison or a substantial fine is an important issue.”
“It has been great. I know I was not the most popular judge in the world. I only want one word used when people remember me ... that he was fair,” the judge said.
Commenting on his description in newspapers as a “well-known and controversial judge,” Judge Pattwell said he would prefer to be described as “direct”.
“If it needed to be said, I said it,” said the judge.
Judge Pattwell, a father of eight grown-up children, said punishing people was never his focus.
“I see them (the courts) as a place where the innocent are to be vindicated and if that involves punishing an individual, that has to happen,” he said.
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