Judge Michael O'Sullivan retires from Canterbury Crown Court bench
One of Canterbury’s top judges toasted his 70th birthday... and
then said goodbye to the bench.
Michael O’Sullivan – who was called to the bar in 1970 – has
retired after nine years as a full-time judge.
The rugby-loving lawyer (pictured right) – who is president of
his local Folkestone Rugby Club – praised staff at Canterbury Crown
Court for their support.
And the father-of-three revealed that one of his treasured
memories he will take away with him...a copy of a front page of the
That was a story about a sex pervert who dressed up as a woman
to get close to innocent victims.
The headline read: “Judge Tells Pervert He May Dress As A
The judge – who began working life putting up street posters,
before moving on to work in a bank and for British Leyland – was
praised by senior Judge Adele Williams for his “charm and terrific
sense of humour.
“He has always been an avuncular but firm judge. He is a warm,
generous, funny and captivating companion.”
But the Welsh-born Judge Williams joked: “When I first met
Michael, Wales were Triple Crown winners. I now have to hold my
head in shame!
“Michael has played rugby, coached rugby, refereed rugby and
followed the game with a passion.”
Canterbury Crown Court,
where Judge O'Sullivan presided
She also remembered the barrister arriving once with the
battered contents of his wig which had been ruined after he tried
to clean it in a washing machine... before it was then demolished
by his dog!”
Judge Williams quipped that he became known for being “accident
prone” resulting in a first aid kit being placed alongside his law
books on the bench.
Close friend, barrister Ian Foinette, also spoke of visits to
watch rugby in Ireland – when the English born judge managed to
shout for both sides!
He added: “First aid, accident, Michael O’Sullivan and disaster
are never far apart.
"He was once in Ireland with another judge and they got
themselves involved in an affray along the banks of a Dublin
canal... when they were attacked by flock of furious Canada
Mr Foinette added: “He was a great man at the Bar, a great
supporter of the Bar and a loyal friend who will always be
remembered for his laughter. “ he added.
Judge O’Sullivan’s wife, Collette and members of his family were
invited to the farewell bash at the court, together with Kent’s
High Sheriff Michael Bax.
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