Tributes to dedicated magistrate, 70, who is retiring after more than 20 years
COURT staff in Grimsby have said their fond farewells to a retiring magistrate who has served with "unflinching dedication".
Robert Palmer, 70, joined the bench at Grimsby Magistrates' Court in 1999 and has since served as chairman of both the youth and adult courts.
He is a poultry farmer by trade and previously served in the army for 30 years as a paratrooper with the Royal Engineers.
Mr Palmer, who lives in North Somercotes, said: "I spent a long time in the army jumping from aircraft so I don't really suffer with nerves but I do suffer with sentimentality and I am sad about leaving the bench and the people behind.
"It has been a pleasure to come to court every day. As a poultry farmer I found joining the bench a way of getting back into a regimented system with intelligent conversation."
Colleagues gathered in one of the courtrooms to say their goodbyes to Mr Palmer – and to pay tribute to his contributions over the last 13 years.
Prosecutor Sue Barker told him: "It has been a pleasure appearing before you and we are all going to miss you.
"I would like to thank you for serving with unflinching dedication and reasonableness in every case."
Solicitor Nick Furman, who began his career at the court in 1986, regaled those present with tales of amusing incidents during Mr Palmer's career.
He recalled: "I remember one trial in particular where there were two very credible prosecution witnesses, followed by two very credible defence witnesses.
"Robert calmly explained to the defendant that he was being found not guilty – and then as the man walked out of the door, he added, 'but don't do it again'!"
Mr Palmer, who lives with wife Maureen and has four children and five grandchildren, is now looking forward to sailing with the Humber Cruising Association and spending more time with his family.
He plans to continue serving as chair of Lincolnshire County Council; as an East Lindsey District councillor and as a school governor.