Presiding District Judge shares perspectives with 6th form pupils

By Ballyclare High School on 23 January, 2020

Presiding District Judge in Northern Ireland, Mrs Fiona Bagnall took time to chat with 6th former’s at Ballyclare High as part of the school’s drugs awareness programme. Mrs Bagnall is a past pupil and Head Girl of the school and served for many years on the Board of Governors in the role of vice-chair.


Mrs Bagnall was appointed to the bench in 2003 having been a solicitor in private practice before that. She sits in the Magistrates Court in Laganside Courts in Belfast and presides over the substance abuse court, which is aimed at offenders who commit crimes related to their drug or alcohol abuse. It allows a judge to send them on an intensive treatment programme, before sentencing, to help them beat their addictions and change their behaviour.


Mrs Bagnall gave pupils an overview of the court, the types of people who have ended up there and some of their stories.  She also talked a little bit of how the court has affected her and her impression of the impact of the drugs on these peoples’ lives. The question and answer session at the end was very enjoyable and the whole event an enlightening one for pupils.