November 27, 2021

UPDATED: Tributes to former Chief Justice Sir Richard Ground

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Tributes were paid to former Cayman Islands Attorney General  and former Bermuda and Turks and Caicos Islands Chief Justice Sir Richard Ground who died on Saturday (22).

Cayman Premier Alden McLaughlin expressed his condolences to Sir Richard’s wife, Dace, and his family on their great loss

“I have known Sir Richard Ground for more than thirty years and am saddened to learn of his passing. He was an outstanding lawyer and a fine jurist and will be greatly missed,” said McLaughlin.

On behalf of the Cayman Judiciary, Chief Justice Anthony Smellie, QC, noted his own long association with Sir Richard, going back to their work as colleagues within the Attorney General’s Department in the early 1980s.

“As Crown Counsel and later as Attorney General, Sir Richard made a very significant contribution to the development of the laws and administration of government in the Cayman Islands. His contributions to the administration of justice as Chief Justice and as a judge in Bermuda and the Turks and Caicos Islands is well known and appreciated throughout the Caribbean region and Sir Richard enjoyed the respect of his fellow judges and Chief Justices from around the Region, and indeed of those many colleagues from around the Commonwealth who came to know him.

“The Cayman judiciary and the local profession were very much looking forward to his time on the Court of Appeal here and are deeply saddened by his passing.”

Among others who expressed their sadness were head of the Bermuda Bar Association Justin Williams and Attorney General Mark Pettingill.

“Our first thoughts are with Dace and the Ground family at this time” said Mr Williams.

“All at the Bermuda Bar will have their own memories of a man who made a great impact in his time with us in these Islands — first as a Puisne Judge and then as our Chief Justice.

“Sir Richard Ground, OBE, will be remembered not only as judge who helped elevate the reputation of Bermuda in legal circles internationally but as someone who was a friend to many in the community and who retired from Bermuda to the regret but admiration of all.”

Added Mr Pettingill: “I am deeply saddened to hear of the loss of Sir Richard Ground. I could spend some time espousing on my deep admiration and respect for him as a judge and what he contributed to Bermuda.

“I was fortunate to get to know him on a personal basis, his wit and wisdom, love of nature, pleasure in good company and intellectual conversation are things I will recall fondly always.

“He was in my view a gentleman and a scholar beyond refute who had the ability to demand nothing less than the best of all of us who had the pleasure to work with him. For that, I am profoundly grateful and I am confident that many at the Bar share that feeling.

“He was indeed blessed to share his life with his incredible wife Dace who I can only hope will find comfort in the memories of the rich time they shared.

“Bermuda has lost a true friend who so fully contributed to the law and the Island.”

At the opening of the Cayman Islands Courts in George Town, Grand Cayman on Monday (24) the judiciary observed a public moment of silence in remembrance of Sir Richard.

“It is with great sadness that I received the news of Sir Richard’s passing. During the time I served with him on the Cayman Islands Judicial and Legal Services Commission I found him to be a man of passion, integrity and humility. His love of life and passion for the law was portrayed in all that he said and did. He will be missed but his legacy will live on,” added Dan Scott, Chairman of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission.

Cayman Islands Attorney General Samuel Bulgin added his condolences to Lady Ground and their family.  “The untimely passing of Sir Richard is unquestionably a terrible loss to the Cayman legal fraternity of which he was an invaluable and admirable member. We are profoundly saddened by his passing. He had a stellar legal career in the Cayman Islands as well as in some of the other UK Overseas Territories including his tenure as Attorney General of the Cayman Islands and more recently his appointment to our Court of Appeal,” he added.

Cayman Islands Governor Helen Kilpatrick said,

“I was sorry to hear of the passing of Sir Richard, who gave so much to the Cayman Islands. He will be missed. My thoughts are with Sir Richard’s family at this sad time,”

Original story

Bermuda premier pays tribute to former Chief Justice Sir Richard Ground

By James Burton From Bermuda Sun

He held the top judiciary post on the island for eight years before retiring to England in 2012.

Mr Ground had also worked in the Cayman Islands and Turks & Caicos in a long and distinguished legal career that was recognized by a knighthood in the Queen’s Honours List in the same year he retired.

A keen fisherman and an accomplished wildlife photographer, Mr Ground was hugely respected for his work in Bermuda, having also served as a Puisine Judge for six years from 1992 after being Attorney General in the Cayman Islands.

Following his first spell in Bermuda, he was appointed Chief Justice in Turks & Caicos before returning to take up the equivalent role in 2004.

Premier Craig Cannonier paid tribute in a statement:  “On behalf of the Government of Bermuda, I send condolences to the family of Sir Richard Ground whose untimely death this weekend has shocked people across the island.

“Sir Richard’s contributions to Bermuda were many. As a member of Bermuda’s Court of Appeal and a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, he ably presided over criminal and commercial cases while reforming the court system to make it more efficient and responsive.

“It is fair to say that in his time on the Bench, Sir Richard strengthened and maintained the island’s standing as a legal jurisdiction.

“Moreover, Sir Richard was an avid naturalist whose camera captured much that is beautiful about our island. There is no question that he loved Bermuda and gave his all to make a positive contribution.

“From the many comments I have heard this weekend, it is clear that Sir Richard was admired and respected by all who knew him professionally and by those fortunate enough to call him friend. Bermuda is the poorer for his loss.”

Mr Ground’s early academic career saw him study English Literature at Oxford University, before pursuing his legal qualifications at the Inns of Court School of Law in London.

He was called to the bar in 1976 and spent much of the early part of his career working in media law and dealing with defamation cases. As part of the 1 Brick Court Chambers, Mr Ground would proofread The Guardian two nights a week to check for any legal issues.

In 1983 he decided he wanted to gain more experience abroad and landed a crown counsel job in Cayman.

Of his first stint in Bermuda, he told the Sun back in 2012: “Bermuda was very different to the Caymans. The Caymans did not really have a history while Bermuda was steeped in this splendid past. It had a very different feel.

“I loved the variety of work I had. One day it would be commercial law, the next it would be a drugs case or a murder trial.”

He said that returning to Bermuda with his wife Dace in 2004 was like ‘coming home’.

Mr Ground, who was replaced at Chief Justice by Ian Kawaley, left the island having earned the respect and admiration of its top lawyers.

On his last court appearance, a number of the island’s top lawyers praised his contribution and leadership.

Director of the Department of Public Prosecutions Rory Field said at the time: “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.”

Lawyer Charles Richardson added: “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.”

Upon announcing his retirement in 2012, Mr Ground told the Sun: “I’m looking forward to going fly fishing for trout on Derbyshire’s River Wye. I’ll still do a lot of photography I’m sure too.

“I’m looking forward to finding a nice house and having some time to read anything apart from legal books.”

*File photo Bermuda’s former Chief Justice Sir Richard Ground died on Saturday.

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