Court of Appeal president retires

Sir John Chadwick, who succeeded Justice Edward Zacca as president of the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal, has retired after serving for seven years. He said his goodbyes at the end of the winter session last month. Justice Chadwick formally retires in mid-January. 

His successor, Sir John Goldring, is expected to be sworn on Jan. 20 as the court’s third president. 

Prior to Sir John Chadwick’s departure, colleagues and court staff gathered for an informal farewell ceremony. The highlight was a portrait unveiling, with Justice Chadwick’s framed photograph joining other judicial luminaries displayed in the lobby outside Courts 1 and 2. 

Justice Chadwick presided over criminal and civil appeals, with the most publicized being his court’s decisions in ordering a retrial of four men for the robbery of Cayman National Bank at Buckingham Square [they were found guilty by a jury, as they had been the first time] and a retrial of Devon Anglin for the murder of 4-year-old Jeremiah Barnes [the verdict is expected next month after a judge-alone trial]. 

Other rulings of general public interest included a recommendation that consideration be given to whether the basic tariff for defilement should be raised. In another matter, Justice Chadwick’s court upheld a sentence of 16 years, noting it was impossible to say that was excessive for the rape of a child. 

During his tenure, the court also refused to hear an appeal against a sentence of seven years for a domestic burglary at night by a man with previous convictions. 

Chief Justice Anthony Smellie described Sir John’s judgments as “brimming with intellect and depth of knowledge of the workings of the law,” adding that it had been “a privilege to have had Sir John serve the Cayman Islands Courts for seven years.” 

At the informal ceremony, he noted that while the Judicial Administration had sought to honor Justice Chadwick’s request to keep his departure formalities as quiet as possible, he could not conceive of Justice Chadwick leaving without thanking him, however modestly, for his service. 

In turn, Justice Chadwick spoke of how honored he felt to have served in Cayman. He noted that he was leaving behind an extremely strong team, and thanked the chief justice for all his support of the team. 

He observed that, with his departure, there was not a single judgment left outstanding from the final sitting of the 2015 session over which he presided. 

The departing Court of Appeal president thanked the administrative staff supporting the work of the Court of Appeal. In particular, he paid tribute to Audrey Bodden, the registrar of the Court of Appeal; court shorthand officers Karen WoonSam and Carol Rouse and Senior Court Reporter Karen Myren; and Marshal “JR” Douglas. 

“I am going feeling that I am leaving the Court of Appeal in very good hands,” Justice Chadwick said. 

Following the portrait unveiling, the Chief Justice presented on behalf of the Judicial Administration tokens of appreciation to Justice Chadwick. 

The new Court of Appeal president, Sir John Goldring, comes to Cayman after a career in the legal services and judicature of England and Wales, most recently as a Lord Justice of Appeal and the Senior Presiding Judge. 

Colleagues and court staff gather with Sir John Chadwick
Colleagues and court staff gather with Sir John Chadwick, rear center, after his portrait is unveiled. Back row, from left: Magistrate Kirsty-Ann Gunn, chair of JLSC Ormond Williams, Sir Richard Field, Sir Bernard Rix, Sir John Chadwick, Audrey Bodden, Kevin McCormac and Justice John Martin. Front row, from left: Justice Richard Williams, Justice Michael Mettyear, Deborah Bodden, Justice Ingrid Mangatal, Chief Justice Anthony Smellie and Justice Charles Quin.