Farewell to 'Torvill and Dean of the judiciary'
A FOND farewell was given to the "Torvill and Dean" of the Bristol judiciary after careers of distinction each spanning 44 years.
Tributes were paid to retiring husband and wife judges Simon and Susan Darwall-Smith.
Brother judges, barristers, court staff and friends packed into Court Two of Bristol Crown Court to hear addresses praising the popular pair.
Mr Justice John Royce regaled the assembly with anecdotes concerning his friendship with the couple in 1960s London.
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He told stories from when their bedroom was overlooked by the top deck of a double-decker bus, through to their time as barristers and appointments as judges.
He spoke of Mrs Darwall-Smith's charm, understanding, humanity and firmness and how she had an iron fist in a velvet glove.
He referred to Mr Darwall-Smith as the epitome of an unruffled judge who was calm, balanced and courteous.
"They are the Torvill and Dean of the judiciary," he said. "I don't know what they are on, but I would like some."
Richard Smith QC, on behalf of the Bristol bar, said: "Bonnie and Clyde; Posh and Becks; Beauty and the Beast; or Sue and Simon?"
Mr Smith described the couple as "genuinely smooth operators, in and out of court".
Ian Kelcey, a Higher Courts Advocate, thanked the couple for their clarity of mind, fairness and sensitivity down the years.
The couple paid special tribute to all court staff including court clerks and ushers who had helped them.
Mrs Darwall-Smith said: "Twenty years at the coal face is long enough for anyone. It is not the work we will miss, it's all of you, the bench, bar and court staff."