Accolades have been showeedd upon Madam Justice Clare Henry as she is relocated from the local jurisdiction to her homeland in Antigua.
A mixture of young and seasoned lawyers came out to bid farewell to Justice Henry last week Monday who came to Grenada on October 15, 2006, and had grown to become the senior resident judge.
Justice Henry said although her reassignment takes her back to her homeland, she has a feeling of sadness at leaving Grenada which she said has become a very special place for her.
However, she could not believe that six years and three months have passed since she first landed in Grenada.
The female High Court Judge looked back at her time on the Bench in Grenada saying that the country gave her the opportunity to learn new phrases and words such as “planass.”
The female Jurist stressed that it has been an honour to serve the people of Grenada and that the time spent in Grenada will always be the most memorable of her career.
Justice Henry pointed out that the goal of the judiciary is to provide the citizens of Grenada with an effective and efficient judicial system.
She praised the members of the local bar for living up to their reputation of being one of the most active and vibrant Bars in the Eastern Caribbean.
She said the courtesy and cooperation that they consistently display to the Bench is legendary.
“I have encountered here a high ethical standard in the practice of law and additionally, counsels who have appeared before me have demonstrated a respect for the rule of law,” she told the ceremony.
The new senior resident Judge, Madam Justice Margaret Price-Findlay indicated that Grenada’s loss would certainly be Antigua’s gain.
Justice Price-Findlay said in her experience with her sister judge, she would call her “the quiet storm.”
“She is quiet, very soft spoken, unlike myself, and anyone who mistook that quiet demeanour for weakness was certainly surprised when the realisation that she was firm in her convictions came home to them,” she added.
Solicitor General Darshan Ramdhani who indicated that he had appeared before Justice Henry as a State Prosecutor more than any of the other three judges spoke of her always being in clear command of her court while exercising patience.
Ramdhani recalled that Justice Henry worked hard in trying to get the Criminal Justice Rules into play in an effort to ensure that the jurisdiction is governed by those rules.
“Please feel comfortable that we are sad to see you go, but feel comfortable that we will try our best to carry on what you have been doing all these years,” he assured her.
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Christopher Nelson noted that the records will show that an appeal never succeeded in any of the criminal matters presided over by Justice Henry in the local high court.
DPP Nelson identified a number of convictions that went before the Court of Appeal that included the conviction of grievous harm against the former personal security of Opposition Leader, Dr. Keith Mitchell, Frederick “Balla” Noel which was described by the Court of Appeal as being without any merit.
Another case DPP Nelson recalled that went before the Court of Appeal and also failed was the murder conviction of schoolteacher Nigel Abraham which he himself prosecuted.
The conviction and sentence of 15 years was affirmed by the Justice on the Court of Appeal.
A more recent case that was dealt with by Justice Henry is Tisagh Chase who was convicted of murdering Kevin Hillaire of Mardigras, St. Paul’s sometime between June 12 and 13, 2008.
Justice Henry laid down a 12-year sentence on Chase last year, which has gone to the Court of Appeal for review.
President of the Grenada Bar Association (GBA) James Bristol said it was a delight for members of the Bar to have worked along with Justice Henry in ensuring the enhancement of the judiciary.
According to Bristol, the outgoing High Court Judge came at a time when accommodation at the court system was not of the best due to the ravages of Hurricane Ivan, but she was able to cope well.
He said prior to a third judge being assigned to the jurisdiction to solely deal with civil matters, Justice Henry did well in managing herself between both the civil and criminal courts.
Queen’s Council Celia Clyne-Edwards who also paid tribute to Justice Henry on behalf of the Inner Bar believes she served Grenada well.
Stating that the judgments handed down by Justice Henry were always sound, the female QC echoed DPP Nelson in pointing out that it was not often that a Henry Judgment was overturned on appeal.
“That speaks as to your scholarship,” QC Clyne-Edwards told the departing judge.
One of the seasoned Criminal Attorneys, Anselm Clouden who appeared before Justice Henry on numerous occasions described her tenure on the Bench as being extraordinary.
Clouden said it has been highlighted by her persistent resort to fairness in the adjudication process.
He said it was an honour and a rare distinction when a judge is designated by the Bar to be fair and just.
“You have, indeed, been a living example of fairness in your adjudicating process,” he quipped.
Justice Henry was called to the Bar in 1987, and became a High Court Judge in 2004.