Former Derry Recorder dies after illness

Sir Robert Porter.

Sir Robert Porter.

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Tributes have been paid to a former Recorder of Derry Crown Court who has passed away.

Sir Robert Porter, who was a Minister of Home Affairs in the Stormont administration in the late 1960s/early 1970s, died after an illness. He was aged 90.

The Derry born politician and barrister - who was educated at Foyle College - had a distinguished professional career after service in the Royal Air Force in the Second World War and in peace time with the Royal Artillery.

Elected to Stormont, representing Queen’s University, he was appointed parliamentary secretary to the Ministry of Home Affairs in January 1969, after which he was appointed Minister of Health and Social Services.

He later became Minister of Home Affairs at the start of a troubled period with civil rights agitation and the beginning of the IRA campaign.

He resigned as Minister of Home Affairs in August 1970, claiming that it was due to ill-health.

However, he later complained he was not consulted about imposition of a military curfew on the Falls Road in Belfast in July 1970. He resigned from the UUP in June 1972.

Sir Robert went on to become Recorder of Derry Crown Court between 1979 and 1981.

Court proceedings at Derry Crown Court were suspended for a short time earlier this week as a tribute to the former Recorder.

Current Recorder Judge Phillip Babington also paid tribute to his predecessor.