May 11, 2021

A look back at the life of Sir Richard Ground

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Sir Richard Ground was born on December 17, 1949 in Stamford, England and educated at Oakham School in Rutland; Lincoln College, Oxford; and the Inns of Court School of Law.

He won an open scholarship to Oxford in 1967 and the Violet Vaughan-Morgan University Prize for literature in 1968. He graduated with a BA Hons in English Language and Literature in 1970.

He was called to the Bar, in Gray’s Inn, in 1975; was appointed Queens Counsel (Cayman Islands) in 1987; and was elected a Bencher of his Inn in 2011.

He began his legal career in private practice at 1 Brick Court, Middle Temple, where he specialized in media law, 1976-83. He left London in 1983 for the Cayman Islands where he served as Crown Counsel. He was HM Attorney General from 1987 to 1992.

Sir Richard was appointed Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court of Bermuda, serving from 1992 to 1998. His next career move took him to the Turks and Caicos Islands, where he was Chief Justice 1998-2004.

He and his wife Dace were delighted to return to Bermuda in 2004, when he was appointed Chief Justice. He served in this position for eight years, retiring in 2012. During his final arraignment session of the Supreme Court, numerous members of Bermuda’s legal profession turned out to bid him farewell.

They described him as patient and professional at all times, and praised him for his judicial acumen and intellect. Notably he was applauded for being “firm but fair” at all times.

In other legal appointments, he had begun serving as Justice of the Court of Appeal for Turks and Caicos Islands in 2005, and was appointed to the Court of Appeal in the Cayman Islands in 2012. Effective January 1, 2013 he was appointed to sit on the Bermuda Court of Appeal but his illness overtook him before he could attend his first session.

He was awarded the OBE in the New Year’s Honours List 1991 for his services as Attorney General in Cayman, and was made a Knight Bachelor in the Birthday Honours list 2012 for his services to justice in Bermuda.

Outside his legal and judicial work, Sir Richard was a keen and talented wildlife photographer and became passionate about the natural world. Weekends in Bermuda were often spent scouring the countryside with his camera in hand, capturing remarkable images of native and migratory species of flora and fauna, especially bird life.

He published his first book of photographs in Cayman in 1989, Creator’s Glory, and in 2001 a book of the wildlife of the Turks and Caicos Islands. His photographs have been published in numerous magazines such as WildBird, Bermuda Magazine, the Times of the Islands and The Bermudian.

He was also a keen collector of Tudor coins and Bronze Age weaponry – and continued to be fascinated by their stories.

In 1986 Sir Richard married Dace McCoy, a Harvard-trained lawyer he met in the Cayman Islands where she was the Marine Parks Coordinator responsible for establishing a system of protected marine areas for those islands.

She later became the founding Executive Director for the National Trust for the Cayman Islands. In Bermuda Lady Ground worked tirelessly as a volunteer for the Bermuda National Trust and the Bermuda Garden Club’s horticultural scholarships programme.

Sir Richard retired in 2012 to Derbyshire, an area he had come to know and love during many vacations spent trout fishing in the Derbyshire Wye. Tragically, he contracted brain cancer in May, 2013.

Following surgery and medical treatment, he hoped to return to his judicial work, but the cancer was in fact more aggressive than first thought. He was 64 years old when he died.

Sir Richard and Lady Ground both considered the years they spent in Bermuda to have been their happiest and most productive.

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