DOZENS of staff from Carlisle Crown Court were joined by senior judges and lawyers from around the country as tributes were paid to the city’s former top judge, His Honour Peter Davies.
A married-father-of-four, Judge Davies was appointed as Carlisle’s Resident Judge in 2016, quickly making his mark as he presided over many high-profile cases.
He earned a reputation for straight-talking, good humour, and compassion.
In a packed Court Number 3, The Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Holroyde — once a regular advocate in Carlisle — led the tributes, his address relayed by video link to barristers and judges across the country.
“He was a excellent advocate,” said Lord Justice Holroyde, referring to Judge Davies’ earlier career.
Peter Davies was called to the Bar in July, 1986, rising to become a Recorder in Bolton on the ‘Northern Circuit’ in 2002.
“He regularly enjoyed the company of other judges and quickly became popular with them and with court staff,” said Lord Justice Holroyde.
Judge Davies, 60, also joined the small number of judges authorised to try murder cases. To his work as a judge he brought “sound instincts, innate decency and concern for others,” said Lord Justice Holroyde.
“He had the great virtue of taking seriously the law and the dignity of court proceedings but not himself.”
Whether addressing defendants, their families or witnesses, he spoke in a direct way, without ever talking down to them.
Judge Davies was justifiably proud of his court staff and had a warm relationship with them, continued Lord Justice Holroyde.
A lifelong fan of St Helens Rugby League FC and Liverpool FC, he had a self-effacing nature and could tell stories against himself.
“The Peter Davies look was the look of legend,” said Lord Justice Holroyde. Yet behind the stern judicial stare and brilliant legal mind, Judge Davies was a devoted family man, whose wit and humour entertained many.
“It was impossible to be in his company for long without laughing,” said Lord Justice Holroyde.
In late 2017, just two years after becoming Carlisle’s Resident Judge, Judge Davies was diagnosed with cancer. Yet he continued working, retaining his humour and remaining more concerned for others than for himself.
Lord Justice Holroyde added: “The Northern Circuit has lost one of its best-loved judges, but he will live on in our happy memories of him.”