'Mischievous' judge bids farewell to court with middle finger salute
Popular silk, His Honour Judge Neil â€˜George' Ford QC, has last laugh at retirement send off
A respected judge has said goodbye to the bench with a humorous gesture during his final appearance at Bristol Crown Court.
His Honour Judge Neil Ford QC '“ who became a recorder in 2009 '“ used his out of office email status to display a drawing of a fist making a single middle finger salute on the court's ClickShare system, the Bristol Post has reported.
Known for his good humour, peers praised both Ford's serious and mischievous sides. In a valedictory speech, Mr Justice James Dingemans referred to Ford as 'George', to the amusement of a packed court.
The alias, assigned by the QC himself, harked back to when he scribbled a 'very large phallus' on a computer messaging system, causing court staffs' pen to be confiscated.
The outgoing judge told the court: 'George Ford is someone a little bit more famous than I,' before also confessing to filling an associate's bag with small gin bottles on train trips back from a trial in Reading and playing a 'rude version' of the Hangman game on a train.
The outgoing recorder described his successor, Judge Peter Blair QC, as suave, talented, and athletic. 'He is to Bristol what Donald Trump is to Washington,' said Ford. 'He can't wait to don the bright red gown.'
Ford thanked his fellow judges and court staff for making his stint as recorder of Bristol an experience that enriched his life. For those present at his most humorous moments, the feeling will no doubt be mutual.