'Traditionalist with a gruff exterior and an innate sense of decency'
The retirement of Paul Carney marks the end of a long and illustrious career as a barrister and judge, and the departure of one of the most combative and enigmatic characters from the bench.
There had been long delays in trials before he assumed the de facto role of president of the Central Criminal Court. He put order and shape on it by dint of hard work and clamour for extra judges to clear backlogs of cases. He presided over some of the biggest criminal trials over the last two decades.
As the senior judge of the Court (which deals with rape and murder cases) he presided over sentence hearings involving graphic sexual depravity. He developed a great empathy for the victims of crime. It was his practice to wipe from his mind the evidence he had heard in court at 4pm as a coping mechanism.