A RETIRING sheriff has quoted Arnold Schwarzenegger’s famous film character, The Terminator, after presiding over his last criminal cases.

Sheriff Simon Pender, who lives in the Helensburgh area, retired last week after spending more than 15 years dispensing justice at Dumbarton Sheriff Court.

Court staff, local defence lawyers and prosecutors from the area procurator fiscal’s office gathered to say farewell after the sheriff’s final cases last Friday.

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Solicitor Tom Brown, from local law firm Cairns Brown, speaking on behalf of the Faculty of Solicitors of Dunbartonshire, told Sheriff Pender: “I’ve always found you to be a fair sheriff. Not soft – I could never say that – but certainly fair.

“If I had a point to make, you always allowed me to make it – you didn’t always agree with it, but I was always able to argue my point, and from a defence solicitor’s point of view, that’s very important indeed.”

Schooled at Miss Ottman’s School and Larchfield in Helensburgh, Sheriff Pender spent four and a half years as a temporary sheriff before being appointed to a full-time post in Hamilton in September 1999.

He has been one of the permanent judges in the Dumbarton sheriffdom – which stretches from Helensburgh to the Rosneath peninsula and Arrochar in the north and west, through Dumbarton and the Vale of Leven, to Clydebank, Bearsden and Milngavie in the east – since May 2004.

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Mr Brown continued: “We all know that in reaching your verdict, or deciding your sentence, you have always taken your time.

“That has sometimes caused us problems as agents, but it’s important for us, and our clients, to have the impression that you have looked at, and listened to, everything we have said very carefully.

“While the clients might not always have agreed with your decision, you always gave them a fair crack of the whip.”

Though no longer a full-time judge, Sheriff Pender - who said it had been “a pleasure” to work in the Dumbarton court - will continue as a part-time ‘floating’ sheriff, presiding over cases at various Scottish courts.

“I have been given a commission to continue temporarily, on and off,” he added, “and so, in the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger: I’ll be back.”