Tributes as judge Malachy Higgins retires after 46 years
One of Northern Ireland's most senior judges is retiring after a 46-year legal career stretching back to the earliest days of the Troubles.
Friends and colleagues paid tribute to Lord Justice Malachy Higgins at the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast yesterday.
Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan said he has made an invaluable contribution to the legal community.
Sir Malachy has taken "meticulous and comprehensive" notes of all his cases, including his years as a barrister practising at Belfast's old Crumlin Road courthouse, his colleague told those gathered.
Those notes have provided a "historical treasure trove" in a series of appeals against convictions from the 70s and 80s, Sir Declan said and "certainly should be preserved."
Before his elevation to the bench 26 years ago Sir Malachy served as a public prosecutor at the height of the conflict.
In an emotional address Lord Justice Higgins reflected on his decision to retire. "I do not pretend it was easy after 46 years in the legal professional and 26 years on the bench," he said.