Charles-Etta Simmons Officially Retires as Judge

 Charles-Etta Simmons Officially Retires as Judge
The Honorable Mrs. Justice Charles-Etta Simmons Officially Retires as Judge, During her retirement celebration this afternoon in the Supreme Court, outgoing Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons discussed some of the high and low points throughout her seasoned legal career, dating all the way back to when she was called to the Bermuda bar.
“ I can remember my son Taj hanging onto my arm after my call to the bar,” she reminisced. “ He saw a cruise ship in the harbor and asked if we could go on a cruise. I promised him that cruise and we took it.”
Justice Simmons, who will celebrate a milestone birthday today, also thanked her friends who are too numerous to mention and whom she could not have made it through without.
“ The registrars for the courts have supported me through the years in ways that I have insufficient time to explain,” she said. “ I would not say that I was high maintenance, but they put up with me and I hold them dear for that.”
Being a black Bermudian woman, Justice Simmons emphasized that her journey to a space on the island’s highest court was certainly not an easy one and her rather progressive style of justice, at least for the time, was not appreciated by everyone.
I wish to thank all the registrars, assistant registrars, managers, supervisors and staff of the three levels of courtrooms. The registrars of the Supreme Court have supported me through the years in ways that I have insufficient time to explain. I would not say that I was high maintenance, but they put up with me and I hold them dear for that.
“ After releasing a defendant after a no-case plea was heard in the middle of a trial, the then-Chief Justice wrote me a letter saying, ‘you have a reputation for this. Have you seen the comments on the blogs, what they have said about you?’,” she recalled. “ I wrote back to him: ‘a lot has been said about me through the years, some of which I will not repeat to a gentleman like you.’”
While fighting for an independent judiciary, something that is not found in some countries which are even part of the British commonwealth, she found a passion that she did not know she had.
Justice Simmons said that she has received many lovely appreciation gifts for her many years of service, but by far the best was the tributes she received from her colleagues and friends this afternoon in Supreme Court.
TNN’s Trevor Lindsay spoke briefly with the outgoing Justice after the ceremony.
“ On this occasion, I am very proud of serving my country for as long as I have, not just in the judicial capacity, but from the day that I was called to the bar,” she said.
“ I hope that Bermuda will be better off for the fact that Charles-Etta Simmons was born [and worked] on this island.”
The first thing of her retirement to-do list is spending more time with her grandchildren.

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Trevor Lindsay

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