End of an era for historic Hampton, N.B. courthouse
Published Wednesday, January 30, 2013 7:05PM AST
Wednesday marked the end of an era in Hampton, N.B. as an historic courthouse heard its last case and the gavel sounded for the last time.
Court is being moved from the 142-year-old icon to a new justice building in Saint John. People who have worked there for decades have mixed feelings about the move.
“There’s something very special when you walk in the door of this courtroom,” says Judge William McCarroll.
“You can feel the history and the tradition and you can imagine what happened here over the past hundred years and more, some of the cases that had to be heard in this courtroom.”
Over the years, the courtroom has seen more than its share of compelling legal drama, including some of the most notorious cases in New Brunswick legal history, such as multiple murderer Noel Winters’ court appearances in the 1980s.
Few lawyers have logged more time at the courthouse than David Lutz, who now wonders what is to become of the old building.
“What use can we make of it?” questions Lutz. “I mean, here we are sitting in 25-foot ceilings. Twenty-five foot ceilings are extremely expensive to heat.”
Town officials say the courthouse is the centrepiece of the community and they want the province to find a new role for it.
“I’m sure it can be done at a reasonable cost, if the province were entertaining another building for some other purpose, then this one would surely fit the bill,” says Hampton Mayor Ken Chorley.
Over the years, many criminals have appeared in the court promising to turn over a new leaf and now the courthouse itself is seeking a second chance.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Mike Cameron