Yarmouth magistrate says ‘I do’ to retirement

MAGISTRATE Elaine Weymouth has seen it all in her two decades dispensing justice to Great Yarmouth’s lawbreakers - even receiving a marriage proposal from one miscreant in the courtroom.

The grandmother - from Sutton, near Stalham - says she “struggled to keep a straight face” on that fateful Valentine’s Day in magistrates’ court, but managed to deliver the guilty verdict.

And as she retired after 21 years of loyal service, her colleagues paid tribute to a true professional who was always just in her decisions.

Bob Price, deputy chairman of the Norfolk Bench, presented Mrs Weymouth with a bouquet of flowers at a special presentation on Wednesday.

He said: “The presentation was a bittersweet experience as we are losing a long-serving and well-respected colleague who has served the magistrates’ bench with great distinction for well over 20 years.”

Former tax inspector Mrs Weymouth was appointed to the bench on June 25, 1991. The 70-year-old worked in a range of roles - latterly as deputy chairman of the Great Yarmouth Bench - and even honed her legal knowledge on a Bar Vocational Course in Cardiff.

But she says her time in Yarmouth was memorable for many reasons.

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“While what we do here is serious business, there are also lighter moments,” revealed Mrs Weymouth. “One defendant said ‘you’re going to find me guilty anyway so I won’t say anything’.

“We went out to deliberate and found him guilty, then when we came back in I said ‘is there anything you would like to tell me before we pass judgment?’ He looked me straight in the eye and said ‘will you marry me?’ I struggled to keep a straight face - but it was Valentine’s Day.”

She added: “It’s been a privilege and a pleasure to serve.

“It’s always quite humbling when people say such lovely things about you, and I hope I’ve been the person they’ve been describing.”

Legal staff from across Norfolk spoke of Mrs Weymouth’s excellent work at her retirement presentation.

David Carrier, court clerk, said: “We were always pleased to see your name on the list in the morning as you were calm in court and a real pleasure to work with.”

Gary Mayle, on behalf of the Crown Prosecution Service, said her ability to sit through a monotony of speeding fines and seatbelt offences in traffic court was testament to her patience.

And the probation service and defence solicitors joined in her praise.

Mrs Weymouth is still on the monitoring board at Norwich Prison, but plans to enjoy retirement with her husband, two children and four grandchildren.