Northern Ireland news

Retired Judge John Curran, who sang with Opera Northern Ireland, has died

Retired Judge John Curran died at his Co Down home yesterday. Picture by Niall Laverty via Fortwilliam Musical Society

A `SINGING' judge, who was among the members of the judiciary targeted by paramilitaries during the Troubles, has died peacefully at his Co Down home.

Retired Judge John Curran, who passed away in Moira yesterday, was appointed to the County Court bench in 1981 having previously been a respected QC for seven years.

He was a county court judge for 24 years, acting as Recorder of Derry from 1982 to 1985 before being assigned to Craigavon.

In 1987 a bomb was thrown and shots were fired from a car passing his Belfast home. On that occasion windows were broken but no-one was hurt.

Later he and his wife Antoinette suffered more than £100,000 damage to their Co Armagh home from a fire believed to have been caused by the installation of a security system by the Northern Ireland Office.

At the time of his death Judge Curran was honorary president of north Belfast's Fortwilliam Musical Society. He was a founder member of the amateur group, which was started by his brother Bill Curran in September 1977.

The judge also sang with Opera Northern Ireland and the Law Society's Pro Bono Choir.

After his 2005 retirement he remained "a very active member" of the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting, which publishes law reports used by students, academics, journalists, lawyers and judges.

Lady Chief Justice Siobhan Keegan said she was "deeply saddened" to hear of his death.

"John was an enthusiastic member of the Pro Bono Lawyer's Choir and was well known for his passion for singing and drama," she said.

"His wife Antoinette, a former President of the Law Society, predeceased him in June 2017.

"John will be missed by his colleagues in the judiciary and those who appeared before him over the years.

"He was held in high regard and is recognised for his contribution to the law over many years of service, his respect for all of those who appeared before him and his good humour.

"My sympathy and that of my colleagues is extended to his family."

He is survived by his children John Joseph, Patrick and Anne Catherine and his sister Barbara.

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