It is not very often that the Director of Public Prosecutions, the President of the Bermuda Bar Association, a Puisne Judge and a former Chief Justice agree or unite on anything inside of a courtroom. However, they were all united in their admiration of the late Joann Lynch, to whom they and many more people paid tribute to in the Supreme Court this morning.
Ms. Lynch worked as a court clerk for many decades and worked closely with the Supreme Court registrar from 1995 until her 2018 retirement. She unexpectedly passed away a few days ago. According to Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons, she impacted the lives of everyone who travelled through the Supreme Court, from the Chief Justice to the cleaners.
“ Ms. Lynch’s true nature was like a fairy godmother to each and every litigation barrister,” Director of Public Prosecutions Cindy Clarke said. “ Any counsel who practiced criminal law would have called on Ms. Lynch for at least three wishes at some point in their career.”
“ She was a woman with immeasurable experience in our system, not only with her knowledge of the law and practical legal procedure, but also in the manner in which she executed her duties,” defense lawyer Victoria Greening said on behalf of her colleague, former Senior Magistrate Archie Warner. “She was the epitome of a true and dedicated civil servant in every sense of those words and was a true conduit in the access to justice.”
“ Ms. Lynch was the reassuring, kind, helpful and nice mother figure in my life. The person that she was carried me throughout my entire career,” defense lawyer and President of the Bermuda Bar Association Elizabeth Christopher said. “I’m grateful for the part that she played in my life and I have spoken to many others who feel the exact same way.”
“ She always had something new to tell me about what was happening on social media and on her WhatsApp groups,” Peter Miller said. “ She journalistically never revealed her sources, but realistically, I knew that she knew what was correct and what was not.”
“ She epitomized the government’s motto of ‘at your service.’ She showed up, which it is sad to say, is lacking in a lot of modern-day employees,” Charlene Scott said. “ She answered various questions posed by attorneys and members of the public at the reception, even if it was asked at 4:43 p.m., when we all know that the registry closes at 4:45.”
“ I can sincerely say that she was one of the nicest people that I had ever met,” former judge Carslisle Greaves wrote. “ She never seemed troubled, never complained, never displayed envy or jealousy and never seemed to crave anything greater than a thankfulness for life itself, and always seemed to want no less than the best for any other person.”
“ She was knowledgeable about court processes and procedures, a stickler for punctuality, time and work output. But most importantly, she was loved and respected by all with whom she encountered at the registry,” Clerk to the Court of Appeals Audley Quallo said. “ She was certainly a consonant professional. Over time, my relationship grew into that which was felt by all who worked with her: that of the judicial department mother.
Life in this world has become enriched through the existence of Ms. Lynch.”
“ Clearly, adhering to the second commandment of love thy neighbor was a cinch for Ms. Lynch,” former Chief Justice Ian Kawaley said. “ As I remarked during the opening of the 2018 legal ceremony a few months before her retirement, she was a very dependable and trusted court officer who was an important role model for younger staff. We shall all miss Ms. Lynch.”
“ She was the encourager to young staff and law students; a shoulder to cry on, the listening ear, the disarmer of irate defendants and the self-represented,” Justice Simmons, whose friendship with Ms. Lynch began when they were both high school students at the Berkeley Institute, said. “She could have gone on to become the registrar, but she would not countenance it. She liked what she did and we can all thank her for that.”
“ I relied on Ms. Lynch for everything, even matters that were not necessarily in her database,” Justice Simmons continued. “ I could not let her influence on me and my indebtedness to her for always using me in the registry from 1995 to 2018 pass without mention.”
Justice Simmons ended her tribute to Ms. Lynch with a quote from musician Gladice Knight, which goes ‘I was the one with all of the glory. She was the one with all of the strength.’”
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