THURSDAY, MARCH 1: Members of the Bermuda Bar paid tribute to Chief Justice Richard Ground at the monthly arraignment session today.
Today was his last arraignment session as he is set to retire at the end of the month after serving as Chief Justice for eight years.
He came to Bermuda in 1992 as a Puisne Judge.
Leading off the tribute, director of the Department of Public Prosecutions Rory Field said: “What a good judge should be is fair and even-tempered, fun but not frightening.
“Someone who listens, works hard, knows the law.
“Someone who is intelligent.
“Someone who is impartial.
“Those are all things that the Chief Justice excels at.”
Mr Field continued: “What about what is a good Chief Justice?
“A Chief Justice has to have all the qualities I mentioned about a judge.
“He has to create respect for the rule of the law.
“He has to manage the judiciary and this is an administration job quite separate from being a judge.
“He also has to make sure that the rule of the law includes a respect for the court itself and the judiciary.
“He has to be a figurehead for the rule of law and he has to act in a personal manner that cannot be criticized.
“When you consider all those elements, I know how lucky and fortunate we are to have Chief Justice Ground as our Chief Justice because he’d filled all those necessities.”
Other lawyers who spoke included Saul Froomkin QC, Charles Richardson, Larry Scott, Larry Mussenden, Mark Pettingill and Elizabeth Christopher.
Mr Froomkin said: “In particular, I would like to say that many of us appreciate your incredible patience.
“I know that on a very rare occasion, counsels’ egos became more inflated and they carry on in a way that’s probably not the best and Your Lordship has been able to run the courtroom in a very professional, judicial way.”
Mr Richardson said: “The first time I heard your name actually was within the walls of Westgate and what I heard said about you was totally unexpected as what you might expect inmates to say about a Chief Justice.
“I heard that you were fair.
‘The first time I ever got a chance to be in the courtroom with you was when Julian Hall defended himself.
“That was my first exposure to you and yes, you are very fair.
“Firm, but fair.”
Mr Mussenden added: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time working with your lordship over the years in many capacities.
“It’s always been a pleasure to laugh and joke.
“I would like to wish you all the best in your retirement.”
And Ms Christopher said: “Your footprint has been on the bench the whole time since I have been practicing.
“Thank you for your time here and we will all miss you.”
Mr Ground thanked all the lawyers and the staff of the Supreme Court.
“The last eight years have gone very quickly.
“When I came back eight years ago, there were a lot of criminal cases pending.
“I think there were 79 and it took a lot of hard work from everyone to work our way through that and clear that.
“I couldn’t have done it without the strong judicial bench behind me and without the cooperation of all.
“I think we have 21 cases pending today.”
Mr Ground said he plans to go back to England with his wife and spend time fishing.