Former Crown counsel Neil Kumar, center, is welcomed to the Cayman Islands Bar by attorney John Furniss, left, and Justice Charles Quin. – Photo: Carol Winker

Former Crown counsel Neil Kumar was admitted as a practicing attorney in the Cayman Islands in a brief and less formal than usual ceremony on Tuesday afternoon.

Senior attorney John Furniss moved the application for the admission, presenting the required documents and affidavits. According to one of the forms signed, Mr. Kumar had never been warned, reprimanded, arrested or convicted in any jurisdiction: That was good background for a criminal attorney, Mr. Furniss joked.

Mr. Kumar was first called to the bar in Victoria, Australia, in 2005. He joined the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in Cayman in 2013, completing four years of service last year.

Justice Charles Quin invited Mr. Kumar to sign the roll of attorneys and then don his gown and wig. He said Mr. Kumar’s conduct as Crown counsel had been exemplary.

“You prepared your cases very, very well,” he commented.

The judge observed that Mr. Furniss was fortunate to have Mr. Kumar working with him. At the same time, Mr. Kumar was fortunate because Mr. Furniss had the respect of many clients, the prosecutor’s office and the courts, “so it’s an excellent marriage,” he said.

He noted it was nice to see so many people turn out for the ceremony, although it had not been included in the published court list. The gallery contained numerous Crown counsel, private sector attorneys, court staff and personal friends.

The ceremony may have brought back memories for Mr. Furniss, who served as Crown counsel in Cayman in the early 1980s before returning in 1986 as sole practitioner.

“I never expected to be here to apply to employ anybody,” he acknowledged.

After back surgery last summer, Mr. Furniss was obliged to hire someone to drive him to town and carry his books and files from courtroom to courtroom. That someone was Shay Miller, whose daily exposure to criminal cases has since prompted him to enroll in the Truman Bodden Law School.

Mr. Furniss referred to his recuperation period and thanked attorney Crister Brady who had held a number of cases for him when he had been unable to climb the courthouse stairs. Now Mr. Brady would have to get his own clients, Mr. Furniss joked.

He also brought laughter to the room when he said his first work would be to get Mr. Kumar to switch allegiance from the cricket and football teams supported by a band of Crown counsel to the teams Mr. Furniss favored. Then, as soon as possible, he would work to have Mr. Kumar join the active Criminal Defence Bar Association, of which he remained chairman because no one else wanted the position.

Between Mr. Miller and Mr. Kumar, “I’m now going to get dragged into the technical age,” he said.

Mr. Kumar thanked Justice Quin for acceding to the application for his admission. He thanked everyone present for their friendship and support. He said he looked forward to practicing law on the defense side and he expressed his gratitude to Mr. Furniss for the opportunity.

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