“IT’S very much bittersweet,” said an Oxford Crown Court judge retiring from the role almost five decades after starting his career.

Judge Michael Gledhill KC, who has been a judge at the Oxfordshire court for three and a half years, retired on Friday (May 2).

He was first called to the bar in 1976 and took Silk in 2001.

He previously spent 12 years at Southwark Crown Court sitting on complex fraud trials before moving to Oxford.

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Speaking ahead of his retirement, he said: “I don’t really want to retire. In an ideal world, I wouldn’t be retiring.

“It’s very much bittersweet as one part of me doesn’t want to retire but the other part is telling me to retire.

Oxford Mail: Judge Michael Gledhill KC (left) with Courtney Brown at Oxford Crown CourtJudge Michael Gledhill KC (left) with Courtney Brown at Oxford Crown Court (Image: Oxford Mail)

“I’ve been here for three and a half years and I’ve enjoyed it very much.

"The other judges here are fantastic to work with, they are very supportive, the court staff are as good as you’re ever going to get in this country, they go out of their way to help and I’ve always enjoyed being here.”

Reflecting on his time at Oxford, he said he has covered a range of serious cases with drug offences being one of the repeat charges he often dealt with.

He said: “Cases in this court have ranged from very serious sexual offences to serious firearm offences, assault, grievous bodily harm, death by dangerous driving, death by careless driving.

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“I never tried driving cases whilst in Southwark so it came as a shock.

"They are difficult as you have grieving families on both sides and you can’t bring people back from the dead and trying to find justice in these cases are almost impossible.

Oxford Mail: Judge Michael Gledhill KCJudge Michael Gledhill KC (Image: NQ)

“Justice to one party is an injustice to another.”

He continued: “In Oxford, we also have a very serious county lines problems so the supplying of drugs troubles this court on a daily basis.

“It’s either supplying drugs cases where people have no qualms with putting the lives of others in serious jeopardy to get money...and the other side is the users who commit offences ranging from serious to minor to get money for their addictions.

“It’s very rare that someone can turn their lives around once they are addicted and we’re very lucky in Oxford as we have the Turning Point organisation headed by Andy Burford who is the most remarkable and patient man I have ever met.”

A valedictory was held at the crown court on Friday afternoon to honour and bid Judge Gledhill a farewell.

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Oxford’s resident Judge Ian Pringle KC said: “We’re here to celebrate the glittering career of Judge Michael Gledhill KC on the bar and the even more glittering career on the bench.

Oxford Mail: Judge Michael Gledhill KC (left) with Courtney Brown at Oxford Crown Court

“It has been a privilege to have you here on the bench with us. At the end of your time here, I’ve not just had the privilege to know you but I’ve acquired a good friend.”

Judge Gledhill KC said he is going to miss the job but that he still has a handful of matters reserved to him throughout the year, including an attempted murder trial in August.

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He concluded: “I have a lot of other interests but the problems you see here everyday….it’s something new...you’re encouraged to deal with it in different way - you don’t get that home when you’re looking after your garden or dog.

“But I do want a break first and hopefully the weather improves. I want to go out and about and do things I haven’t been able to do while working full-time.

 “I’m sitting in retirement so I’m not saying goodbye completely.”