Retiring judge confesses he once drew a ‘very large phallus’ on court messaging system

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The cheeky doodle led to staff having pens confiscated


A judge has used his retirement speech to reveal he once scrawled a “very large phallus” on a court messaging system.

Neil Ford QC confessed he used an official court computer — which is operated using a stylus instead of a mouse — to draw the crude penis-shaped doodle. The 63-year-old, clearly proud of his anatomical artwork, then proceeded to send it to all of his colleagues.

But it would appear that Ford’s penis prank backfired. According to Bristol Post, the retiring judge disclosed how the lewd message “led to everyone’s pen being confiscated.”

Mischievous judge Ford — who has spent the last eight years as a judge at Bristol Crown Court — just can’t seem to resist the pranks. During his speech, he recalled the time he stuffed a friend’s bag full of small gin bottles during a train trip from a trial in Reading. The local news report also revealed Ford set his ‘out of office’ status on the court’s digital system to “a drawing of a fist making a single finger salute.” Charming.

Commenting on his successor, Judge Peter Blair QC, Ford, somewhat bizarrely, said:

He is to Bristol what Donald Trump is to Washington. He can’t wait to don the bright red gown.

Hopefully Blair can make Bristol Crown Court great again.

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Retiring to take up a new appointment as Archbishop of Banterbury no doubt.


Jones Day Partner

He’s our new managing partner, actually.



I don’t understand the red gown joke.



The resident judge at Bristol is a Senior Circuit Judge and wears a red gown. Nothing to do with Trump wearing red. Not sure it qualifies as a joke.





The Bar Necessities

Each major court centre has a ‘lead’ circuit judge for each of the three jurisdictions: the Designated Civil Judge, the Designated Family Judge, and the Recorder of Wherever (for crime). HHJ Ford QC was the Recorder of Bristol. For reasons that I’ve never properly understood, the Recorder of Wherever is entitled to wear the robes of a High Court judge (which are red) and be addressed as a High Court judge even when not actually sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge. I understand some judges eschew the tradition, (rightly, in my view) recognising that they are really a circuit judge with an administrative role as opposed to an actual High Court judge.



My understanding is that although they are red, the robes of a Recorder of Wherever are nevertheless distinct from a High Court Judge, basically I seem to recall they are edged in black and are slightly less impressive than an HCJ. There is a picture of HH Batty thus vested here for those who like their robeology



In order to recruit someone to the bench who will maintain the status quo by having no meaningful reaction to the human tragedy paraded before him, other than to plod on with their middle class living, you have to recruit someone stupid.


Chris Grayling's Bald Head




I didn’t know Banter Claus was a judge


Dave Barrister

Fordy “George” is much loved in Bristol, his valediction was, however, a relatively low-brow affair. Still, all fun and games. Shame LC missed out the tampons tied to his wig annecdote…


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