Obituary: His Honour Francis Blennerhassett
Wednesday 28 July 1993
FRANK BLENNERHASSETT first became a public figure in the Seventies when the government committee he chaired published its report on the law relating to drinking and driving - most of his recommendations have since been acted on.
The middle of three brothers, Frank Blennerhassett joined up for the Second World War on the same day as his younger brother. Switching from the Royal Artillery to the Royal Warwickshire Yeomanry he spent most of the war in East Africa. A stint in the Judge Advocate General's Department persuaded him to turn to the law.
Called to the Bar in 1946, Blennerhassett took silk in 1965. Appointed Recorder of Windsor in 1972, he was two years later invited to chair a committee set up to review the breathalyser laws. In a much praised report he recommended the closing of a number of technical loopholes which had not been anticipated by the drafters of the original Road Safety Act. Most of the recommendations of what became known as the Blennerhassett report were taken up, but up to his death he was still engaged in attempting to persuade the Ministry of Transport to strengthen the law against persistent drink drivers.
Blennerhassett became a circuit judge in 1978 and sat at Stafford, Warwick and Worcester Crown Courts until he retired in 1989. Retirement enabled him to spend more time at the bridge table and on the golf links with his devoted partner, Betty.
The bare record tells little of the man. He had an impish, mischievous sense of humour which he used to devastating effect. In court it was employed to prick the pompous and to undermine what appeared to him to be absurd arguments.
Unlike most advocates who reserve a harsher, louder voice for court, Frank Blennerhassett had only one voice. It was natural and warm to go with a fireside manner which was ideal for putting litigants at ease and for disarming his antagonists.
Undertaker dead hoax: WWE legend not 'found dead in home' as Facebook and Twitter reports
South Korea ferry: Four dead and almost 300 missing as mass rescue gets underway
Malaysia Airlines MH370 co-pilot's phone 'was on and made contact with network tower' 30 minutes after plane turned around
Oscar Pistorius trial: Reeva Steenkamp told athlete she 'loved him' for first time in Valentine's Day card
Lunar eclipse 2014: Images of the spectacular 'blood moon'
David Cameron: 'Jesus invented the Big Society – I'm just continuing God's work'
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
- 1 Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
- 2 Naked yoga: the bare truth - it's already big in the US, and has now landed here
- 3 Man on a leash in Farringdon, London: Mystery of 'walkies' solved
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline bribed doctors to boost sales, says whistleblower
£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SharePoi...
£80000 - £95000 per annum: Charter Selection: A leading Global organisation Ja...
£80000 - £90000 per annum: Charter Selection: A leading Global organisation is...