A crown court judge has praised a local newspaper publisher’s commitment to court reporting before leaving to take up a new post.
Judge Heather Norton, left, commended the KM Group in a farewell speech to fellow judges, barristers and court staff at Canterbury Crown Court.
The group, which publishes the Kent Messenger and several other weekly titles, has two full-time reporters covering cases at Maidstone Crown Court and in Canterbury.
Judge Norton made her remarks to a packed courtroom before leaving to take up a new senior post at Reading Crown Court.
She said: “Having press reporters in court is hugely important. It is vitally important the public know what we do and why we do it.”
And she had a special word for the group’s court reporter Paul Hooper – known to staff as “Scoop”.
She said: “Paul doesn’t let much get in the way of a good story but he never let a good story get in the way of loyalty and decency, I know this personally.
“Thank you for the service you give to this court.”
Paul admitted he was touched by the judge’s words saying: “Judge Norton is truly a class act, funny, witty and always supportive.
“She was the first judge I have ever seen who left the bench to talk to a victim of child sex, to reassure her. It was very moving.
“I was always able to talk to her if any issues came up involving court reports. I will miss her.”