District judge bids a fond farewell as Larne courthouse closes its doors

Larne court officials Avril Finlay and Louise Weatherhead are pictured with District Judge Mr Robert Alcorn on the last day of court at Larne courthouse. INLT 14-002-PSB
Larne court officials Avril Finlay and Louise Weatherhead are pictured with District Judge Mr Robert Alcorn on the last day of court at Larne courthouse. INLT 14-002-PSB
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larne courthouse closed for the last time on Thursday, March 28 - bringing its 110-year history in the town to an end.

All court business will now be transferred to Ballymena Magistrate’s court.

To mark the end of an era for the judicial system in Larne, a farewell event was held the previous week, with members of the legal profession and District Judge, Mr Robert Alcorn sharing their memories.

Mr Alcorn said: “I have sat in many court venues during my time, but it was to this place that my heart belonged. The staff were always kind to me, I loved this place, I was happy and content here.

“This courthouse, without any doubt whatsoever, was home in terms of my work.

“The building has a character all of its own, and whilst it didn’t have all the facilities one finds in a modern building, what it had was perfectly adequate for the delivery of its services.

“So far as I am aware, there have never been any complaints about the facilities from any of those people who actually used the courthouse.

“I do not and never had believed that big is always better, not do I believe that economic arguments should override the interests of a local community.

“In my view, justice should be dispensed locally, within a community, amongst its people and not in judicial factories remote and detached from the areas they serve.

“I have done my best to be approachable and ensure that the court ran efficiently. In doing so I do hope I have always afforded adequate time to those appearing here to give their evidence, present their cases, argue their points and make their submissions.

“I am only too well aware of my own faults and failings and I have made mistakes. I chose as my motto ‘Do justice to all’. I have tried to live by that on and off the bench – whether I have succeeded is for others to judge.

“I will remember this court, this town and the people I have met over the years with fondness and affection, and take away with me the pleasant times amongst gracious people in Larne.”