Judge says farewell to ‘awe­some re­spon­si­bil­ity’

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Roundabout - By Paul Hooper

Yor­dan Zhekov played only a small part in Judge An­drew Pa­tience’s time on the bench at Can­ter­bury Crown Court.

The Bul­gar­ian lorry driver had been caught bring­ing an il­le­gal stun gun into Kent. He pleaded guilty, was sen­tenced to two years, and wrote him­self a foot­note in the dis­tin­guished ca­reer of Judge Pa­tience.

As Zhekov was led away to start his sen­tence, His Hon­our An­drew Pa­tience QC ended not only his stint as a deputy cir­cuit judge but also his ca­reer at the Bar.

While de­fence and pros­e­cu­tion bar­ris­ters spent his last day send­ing him best wishes for his re­tire­ment, the mod­est judge not only thanked his le­gal col­leagues but also all “the back­room” staff at Can­ter­bury and Maid­stone crown courts.

Known for his wry sense of hu­mour as well as his bril­liant le­gal mind, he re­flected on his 14 years on the bench in Kent, by say­ing: “Ev­ery emo­tion is dis­played be­fore judges, there is hu­mour (and that keeps me go­ing) but there are mo­ments of high tragedy, drama and the awe­some re­spon­si­bil­ity of mak­ing de­ci­sions not only that af­fect the lives of de­fen­dants in front of you but also the fam­i­lies, is some­thing that does way heav­ily on you.

“But it man­ages to keep one hum­ble. It en­sures that you do your best to achieve bal­ance. And al­though you may not be pop­u­lar that’s not the point.

“Be­cause some­times if you don’t sat­isfy ei­ther side with your fi­nal de­ci­sion, it prob­a­bly means you have got it right!”

An­drew Pa­tience was called to the bar in 1966, the year Eng­land won the World Cup, al­though his sport­ing pas­sions are cricket and horse rac­ing.

He be­gan hear­ing cases in 1981 as an as­sis­tant recorder and be­came a full recorder five years later. In 1990 he took silk, adding

‘Some­times if you don’t sat­isfy ei­ther side with your fi­nal de­ci­sion, it prob­a­bly means you have got it right!’

Queen’s Coun­sel to his ti­tle, and nine years later was ap­pointed a judge at Maid­stone.

Judge Pa­tience even­tu­ally be­came the county town’s most se­nior judge but re­tired, for the first time, two years ago.

He then took a two year ap­point­ment as a deputy cir­cuit judge hear­ing cases in Can­ter­bury, just a few feet away from the city’s se­nior judge, Adele Wil­liams, or as she is known in other cir­cles…Mrs Pa­tience! The cou­ple live in the Ash­ford area.

His re­tire­ment will be busy. He is pres­i­dent of Kent’s Red Cross vol­un­teers, a mem­ber of the Kent Am­bas­sadors, pa­tron of the Chatham His­tor­i­cal Dock­yard So­ci­ety, a school gover­nor and church war­den.

Pic­ture: Mike Gun­nill

Judge An­drew Pa­tience

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