Retiring JP criticises having to leave the Bench at 70

Blackpool Magistrates' Court

Blackpool Magistrates' Court

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A retiring Fylde magistrate became a second local JP to criticise having to leave the Bench at the mandatory age of 70.

Bob Barclay told a gathering of fellow magistrates, court staff, Crown Prosecutors and defence solicitors at Blackpool Magistrates Court: “I would like to echo the words of one of my colleagues Karen Henshaw who retired earlier this year.

“She was not happy about being told she would have to retire.

“I have reached the same stage and it seems strange that I can, however, still sit on the jury and try a person for murder but I can’t sit as a magistrate and decide whether someone has stolen a packet of bacon from a supermarket.”

Plaudits were given to Mr Barclay’s 14 years of service as a magistrate, during which he has become known for his robust sentencing.

He has served as a licensing magistrate and specialised in Youth Court work.

He is synonymous with the game of rugby in the 
area. He played for Kirkham Grammar School first team at the age of 15 and then played for Fylde Rugby Club’s first team at the age of 18.

He is a past chairman and president of Fylde RUFC and for 42 years has coached its Under-16 side.

During his working life, Mr Barclay became head of IT services at GRE Lytham.

Two years ago he was awarded the British Empire Medal.

Chairman of the Bench for Fylde Coast Magistrates Courts Frank Shipway said: “Bob has played a full part in the life of the Bench both inside and outside the courtroom. He has always presided with a fair and firm hand.

“He has no truck with wilful criminality but shows a real understanding in matters involving young people and will do whatever is required to divert offenders from the undesirable path they are embarking on.”

Also retiring from the Bench after 12 years service is retired police officer Tony Hough who served as a court chairman and appraiser of his colleagues.