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Judges pay tribute to veteran court official who died last month

Supreme Court judges yesterday led tributes to a retired senior court official who died last month.

Joann Lynch was 68.

Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons told Supreme Court that Ms Lynch, who worked in the courts for more than 40 years until she retired in 2018, had offered an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on and was a source of valuable advice.

Mrs Justice Simmons said: “She was reliable and, I can tell you that she suffered fools gladly – and those were just the lawyers.

“Her door was always open and she had a chair in her office that everyone from the then Chief Justice to the cleaner made use of.”

She told the court that she and Ms Lynch were at the Berkeley Institute together and had remained friends.

Mrs Justice Simmons said Ms Lynch, the manager of the Supreme Court’s criminal division, was an invaluable asset to the Supreme Court Registry for decades.

She added: “When I was informed that I would be made Registrar of the Supreme Court, although I had a meeting with the outgoing Registrar, it was Ms Lynch that I took to for the real lay of the land.”

Mrs Justice Simmons said she had encouraged Ms Lynch to get a law degree, but she always refused because she liked what she did.

She added that Ms Lynch was a keen tennis fan – particularly of Venus and Serena Williams – and they travelled to New York to watch the US Open together in 2018.

Mrs Justice Simmons said they had hoped to visit other events, but the Covid-19 pandemic had intervened.

She added: “In the sports vernacular, she was a GOAT – greatest of all time.”

Cindy Clarke, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said Ms Lynch was like a mother to many young lawyers.

Ms Clarke said: “Ms Lynch's true nature was like a fairy godmother to each and every criminal litigation barrister, myself included.

“Any counsel who practised criminal law in the Supreme Court during her tenure would have called on Ms Lynch for at least three wishes at some point in their career.

“Whether it was for a copy of an obscure ruling in a trial or whether it was to meet us at the back door so that we could file a document after the registry had closed, you knew you could count on Ms Lynch to help.”

She added that she and the rest of the Department of Public Prosecutions were glad they had known Ms Lynch as a colleague and a friend.

Joann Lynch (Photograph supplied)

Elizabeth Christopher, the president of the Bermuda Bar Council and a defence lawyer, said she was among the many who benefited from Ms Lynch’s kindness.

Ms Christopher said: “The person that she was carried me throughout my career.

“I'm grateful for the part she played in my life and there are many people I have spoken to that feel the same way. She helped us along.”

Mr Justice Simmons read several letters she had received about Ms Lynch to the court from other members of the legal world.

Carlisle Greaves, a former Supreme Court judge, said Ms Lynch was “the right side of my mind” and a treasured resource.

He added: “She had the best memory of anyone I had every known.”

Ian Kawaley, a former Chief Justice, said Ms Lynch was a role model for her staff and the person everyone went to for help and advice.

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Published June 02, 2021 at 11:31 am (Updated June 02, 2021 at 3:35 pm)

Judges pay tribute to veteran court official who died last month

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