Youngest criminal judge takes up role

CHRISTINE CUNNINGHAM Leading Norfolk barrister Anthony Bate today takes up his new appointment as the country's youngest criminal judge. Judge Bate, 46, has been appointed a Circuit judge and will be assigned to the South Eastern Circuit based a Cambridge Crown Court.

CHRISTINE CUNNINGHAM

Leading Norfolk barrister Anthony Bate today takes up his new appointment as the country's youngest criminal judge.

Judge Bate, 46, has been appointed a Circuit judge and will be assigned to the South Eastern Circuit based a Cambridge Crown Court. He was called to the bar in 1987 and was appointed a Recorder on the South Eastern Circuit in 2003.

Judge Bate, who lives in South Norfolk with his wife and two children, has been at East Anglian Chambers since 1988 specialising in fraud and serious crime.


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High profile cases he has been involved in, as counsel, include the shocking case of Lauren Wright, who was killed by her stepmother Tracey, and the case of Philip Stanley, who murdered Norwich prostitute Hayley Curtis.

He also prosecuted and defended in many fraud cases and his outstanding skill was to make complicated financial cases easy to understand for both the court and jury.

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Not only will he be the youngest judge - he will also probably be the only judge who is also a qualified veterinary surgeon.

As a vet, Judge Bate worked in Lancashire and Suffolk dealing with all kinds of animals from livestock to family pets. But he said the opportunity came up to study law and so he decided to pursue the new challenge.

In the early days of his legal career he sometimes combined his veterinary knowledge with the law by doing prosecutions for the RSPCA.

He is still on the Veterinary Register although he no longer practises and despite seeming to be two very diverse professions he says there are similarities.

“One is very lucky to be a member of two very fine professions. Both the veterinary profession and the legal profession are very collegiate so everyone supports one another. There is a great deal of trust and support.”

He says that being involved in the legal profession always throws up new challenges and there was abiding human interest.

Now he says he is looking forward to his latest challenge as a newly appointed judge.

“You get a new perspective from the bench although you are still very much part of a team.”

Senior clerk, Stephen Collis, of East Anglian Chambers said: “Chambers will miss Tony, but our loss will be the bench's gain.”

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