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Judge Redhead retires in Montserrat

Lauded as fair, humble, courteous… an illustrious career,

unwavering support of to uphold the rule of law, ensuring justice served

Justice Redhead

Hon. Justice Albert Redhead

When the Hon. Justice Albert Redhead sat in the tiny High Court room of Montserrat on July 20, 2016 it was already accepted that this would be his last time on the bench as he chaired a special sitting at the High Court in Brades, specially organised in honour of his ‘final’ retirement from the bench, where he served as high court judge and justice of appeal of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (High Court of Justice).

What the long standing serving judge heard may all be summed up in two words offered by the most senior counsel Barrister-at-law Kenneth Allen QC in his address, “Well Done!”

QC Allen, he is so commonly called, was second to address His Lordship and began saying that he adjusted his vacation schedule when he learned of the judge’s retirement at the end of the July circuit: “I promptly adjusted my schedule to ensure that I am here to say even two words. Well Done!”

That was to be the tenor of the several addresses of farewell from the several barristers in the room, beginning with the first speaker, Mrs. Sheree Jemmotte-Rodney, Ag. Attorney General, the capacity in which she addressed Justice Redhead, who along the way was reminded that this finally would be his retirement.

Rodney

Ag. Attorney General, Mrs. Sheree Jemmotte-Rodney

After addressing in her opening, His Lordship, Justice Albert Redhead, Mr. Allen, members of the Legislative Assembly including the Hon Speaker of the House, members of the Inner and Otter bar and the specially invited guests, as all the other speakers would do in varying ways, she began: “It is my pleasure my lord to rise on behalf of the substantive Attorney General (AG) and behalf of the entire staff of the AGs chambers and on my own personal behalf to wish you farewell on your retirement my lord.”

She for a good part provided the history of the judge’s career on the bench as she revealed: Justice Redhead  first served in Montserrat in 1985 as he had noted, “…and that is a time at which quite a few of the young attorneys who currently appear before you, quite a few of them were at that stage were not even in primary school yet but it has been quite very long,” indicating that her first interaction with him, “came about fourteen years ago when I was actually serving as Registrar of the High Court and you came as Justice of Appeal.”

She noted that Redhead and served forty-two years from when he was first admitted to the bar. “The last thirty-five years and five months, you have indicated that you have served on the bench of the Eastern Caribbean Court in the capacity of High Court judge and also as Justice of Appeal and as you indicated this is the longest period that any judicial officer has served within the region.” That she noted, “is something quiet tremendous and of note.”

She noted the judge’s “illustrious career and your unwavering support of doing your part to uphold the rule of law and to ensure that justice was served will not soon be forgotten…” saying he had “left an indelible mark on the jury students of the East Caribbean Supreme court and the fact that there so many people present here my lord to acknowledge your distinguish judicial career is a sign of the administration and the respect my lord that we have for you.”

Like others to come after her in similar words, she told the Judge, “My lord you have served the legal profession with distinction over many years, you have brought to the bench tremendous depth and breadth of experience my lord and I will like to congratulate you…”

Kenneth

Barrister-at-law Kenneth Allen QC

Mr. Allen who spoke next, “You have served the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court faithfully and with distinction. I was here from the beginning -I have been here for 57 years,” as we went on to speak about the romance of retirement.

“We did not need long fellow or Shakespeare or our own distinguished poet Sir Howard Fergus to define for us what retirement means we know that, that romantic term is associated with words like rest and peace and quiet and ending and finishing and departing and so on…just thinking of a sunset but even as the sun will rise again tomorrow and retrace your journey or some part of it you have done all of that with honor setting records along the way,” he said with admiration.

Mr. Allen noted: “something of which I am absolutely certain, you have always been well loved in Montserrat and in St. Kitts my mother country, and you having chosen one of Antigua’s finest ladies to be your wife I have no doubt that the position is the same there. You have groomed and nurtured distinguished scholars… I personally know that your hobbies are gardening and fishing and reading… you have been rehearsing for retirement for many years and now the time has come now that you are lord and master of your faith where no one can tell you what to do, how to do it and when to do it.”

“May God grant perfect peace and good health to you and her (the wife) for the rest of your years and may they be many and happy,” he concluded.

Mr. David Brand, senior next to Kenneth Allen, recalled the judge’s diligence, “…while serving on the Court of Appeal from 1997 to 2004 throughout the decades while you sat as a judge, you have shown what it means to be fair minded and independent. He alluded to something the judge would speak to in his response; while delivering his own accolades to the judge, humorous on the way. “In doing your duties as I said before, you are willing to give advice that in a mire that only the wise can perceive what you’re saying…

David Brandt“It is important that those who are on this side have every confidence that he (the judge) will apply the law as he sees it. That is very important… you know the rules and like an umpire…you say out, and you know why…”

The senior counsel revealed that the retiring judge, is a fantastic dancer. My learned friend said that you were interested in gardening and reading but I didn’t know that. I’m sure he does not know that you are a fantastic dancer.”

HogarthContinuing to address the judge in rank of seniority, came Hogarth Sergeant, who seemed more brief than those before him, but he also remembered the judge taking up the appointment to serve Montserrat in 1985, when he served as Magistrate/Registrar. He spoke to the judge’s experience, and his understanding, and speaking on behalf of the other lawyers who would not be privileged to speak, paying tribute on behalf of the Registry staff and those of long ago, recalling Mrs, Eileen Edwards.

“Your honor has always been a true supporter of the profession and from your long standing experience you know the difficulties that can be faced with clients, but you’re always a pleasure to appear before, because you remained courteous to all.
Mr. Sergeant said the judge was leaving the court in interesting times. “We now have case management for criminals in assizes, case management for appeals, a new family court, a new commercial division – so you are leaving the court sir in interesting times.”

He joked about the judge’s retirement, “…I know you will still earn an income from your fishing and your farming, and your dancing,” adding his bit about the judge being valuable to the Court, “a very long standing, serving and valuable judge.”

“ We thank you for the time you have spent with us and we are sorry today that your dear wife is not here today to witness this … because of circumstances beyond her control. I wish you well in retirement.”

KarlMr. Karl Markham followed. He took time to expand on an appearance where himself and Brandt appeared before Redhead, treating with a case Brandt referred to out of Law School. He promised brevity, coming behind Allen, Brandt and Sergeant, but informed he was also speaking in the capacity of the missing president and the vice president of the bar association. “I join with my colleagues to bid you farewell to what has been a most illustrious legal career on the bench… Now coming after Mr. Allen, Mr. Grant and Mr. Sergeant there is much more that I can say but in the interest of time I will seek to be very brief.”

He noted those speaking before him, “have done so based on personal experiences gained from practicing before you in this court and in the court of appeal. It is said that a lawyer should firstly know judge with whom he is practicing so my personal perception of you, is that of a judge who is bent on doing what is perceived to be the right thing, the correct thing, the moral thing.”

Before closing with best wishes for the judge, he admitted, “what is right and correct could be very well subjective what is moral is not…over the years you have been perceived as a common law judge committed to fairness and justice. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the overlapping of law and morality,” he concluded.

SullivanDirector of Public Prosecution (DPP) Oris Sullivan was next and began joking that he was the last batsman as in cricket of whom not much is expected; the judge joked back, “I wonder why!” He began, “Like most of the speakers before me I’ve known you for quite a long time,” noting that” in another life I was a police officer and in that same life I had the opportunity to work as your security back in the days of Plymouth at the Montserrat Springs Hotel.”

He recalled that Judge Redhead was “the first judge I knew.” it was a pleasure for him (no doubt he aimed at being a lawyer since then) “to attend the court house to listen to you.” He said he believed at the time in order to learn anything and in order to be a good police officer, “you must attend court’” as he made time to do in his spare time.

“I can say now that I have gained quite a lot from listening to you. Now that you’re retiring I can make a couple of confessions; that you’ve always been my favorite judge. I consider you to be a friend and now that you are retiring, I know everyone spoke about fishing, I hope to get some of that fish,” (he joked).

He revealed he was reminded by the Commissioner of Police to speak on behalf of all law enforcement agencies because they may not get an opportunity to speak. “So I want to say on behalf of the Police Service, the Prison Service, Customs and Excise, the Inland Revenue Service, the Financial Services Commission and all those other services that we saw as the prosecution agency on their behalf and on our own behalf, I want to wish you well,” finally wishing the judge, “ Best of luck in your future endeavors, long life and happiness to yourself and Mrs. June Redhead. I’m sorry she’s not here so I can wish her personally.”

ActeeHon. Master of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, Agnes Actee (served in Montserrat as Registrar) joined Justice Redhead on the bench and she brought greetings and best wishes from the Hon. Chief Justice Dame Janice Pereira who was on duty in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and could not be present in Montserrat for the occasion.

In her opening she added The Commissioner of Police and wife and commander of the Royal Montserrat Defence Force as well as members of the Clergy.

It is a privilege she said to “be here to finally bid farewell to you justice Redhead from the bench. For me today is nostalgic as it was on the 20th November, 2011 I sat here in the arena as acting registrar of the high court of Montserrat,” she said, adding, “Never did I envisage that I would today on the 20th of July 2016 be sitting next to you judge to under bench to bid you farewell…”

She recalled it was here “I obtained a baptism by fire in the first time ever sitting in a criminal trial from its commencement to the end…My experience with you here on Montserrat will remain perpetually edged in my memory,” she said that justice Redhead “you took me through the entire process of a criminal trial…I learnt the entire gamut of a criminal trial process from you judge for which I am eternally grateful,” as the experience here in Montserrat (with the judge) “better prepared me for my position on the bench,” having the opportunity to experience your detailed knowledge in both civil and criminal law.

She said “One thing I wish to emulate is the speed at which you write your judgments.”

She ended by outlining the qualities which she observed, even as the judge had ‘retired several times before’, citing him as the perfect judge. Conveying, ‘our’ gratitude for your dedicated service she concluded: “Judge your career on the bench has been long and distinguished. Your career and life epitomise all the true qualities required of a perfect judge. You have demonstrated integrity, good character and reputation, fairness, independence, impartiality, maturity, sound social awareness, courtesy, and most of all humility.”

The judge in his response said, ”It is with profound sadness that I too, say my final goodbye to the bench and the lovely people of Montserrat after 31 years and five months in Montserrat,” informing of the exact date he arrived. “I first arrived here as a judge on the 4th of March 1985. I have enjoyed tremendously sitting in Montserrat because apart from my love for the law, Montserratians are wonderful people,” he said.

The judge said he had served in all nine Islands of the OECS. “I can say without an iota of doubt that Montserratians ranks number one – among the people I have served in the region.”

He said this was so, because, “Montserratians in my view are a very affable people; easy to get along with, law abiding.

“Not with-standing your small population, I am firmly of the view that you are the most law abiding people in the nine territories in which I have served,” he said.

He made the observation of the very good relationship he enjoyed with the bar in Montserrat. “I have had a wonderful cooperation with members of the bar throughout,” he said, referring to QC Allen who appeared before him many times, “and you were my senior in practice of the law, but you accepted my rulings without a murmur, as far as I know; we did not always agree, and you appealed as it was your right to do.”

But then he stated another observation he refers to “a disturbing trend, not only in Montserrat, among lawyers who are not prepared to accept the ruling of the court in that they complain openly.”

He said, “They murmur.  “The judge cannot always be right but my mantra is that I know I cannot always be right, but I am satisfied that I am right when I do something. If you feel the judge is wrong, appeal.”

He expressed the view that, “to show open dissent against the ruling of a judge is disrespectful. You do not agree with the judges’ decision appeal.

The retiring judge said further: “I say this not to criticize anybody particularly, but for the love of the bar, I think this practice should stop,” noting his love and devotion to the bar, the law. “I say this must practice must stop.

“Finally,” he said, “let me say co-operation between the bench and the bar advance the cause of justice. May God bless us all. I thank you.”

To applause the judge adjourned the sitting saying: “I am humbled by the many good things that were said about me. I hope that I have made a contribution even if infinitesimal in my sojourn on the bench,” rising from the bench to the tune from the gallery, “For he is a jolly good fellow.”

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Lauded as fair, humble, courteous… an illustrious career,

unwavering support of to uphold the rule of law, ensuring justice served

Justice Redhead

Hon. Justice Albert Redhead

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When the Hon. Justice Albert Redhead sat in the tiny High Court room of Montserrat on July 20, 2016 it was already accepted that this would be his last time on the bench as he chaired a special sitting at the High Court in Brades, specially organised in honour of his ‘final’ retirement from the bench, where he served as high court judge and justice of appeal of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (High Court of Justice).

What the long standing serving judge heard may all be summed up in two words offered by the most senior counsel Barrister-at-law Kenneth Allen QC in his address, “Well Done!”

QC Allen, he is so commonly called, was second to address His Lordship and began saying that he adjusted his vacation schedule when he learned of the judge’s retirement at the end of the July circuit: “I promptly adjusted my schedule to ensure that I am here to say even two words. Well Done!”

That was to be the tenor of the several addresses of farewell from the several barristers in the room, beginning with the first speaker, Mrs. Sheree Jemmotte-Rodney, Ag. Attorney General, the capacity in which she addressed Justice Redhead, who along the way was reminded that this finally would be his retirement.

Rodney

Ag. Attorney General, Mrs. Sheree Jemmotte-Rodney

After addressing in her opening, His Lordship, Justice Albert Redhead, Mr. Allen, members of the Legislative Assembly including the Hon Speaker of the House, members of the Inner and Otter bar and the specially invited guests, as all the other speakers would do in varying ways, she began: “It is my pleasure my lord to rise on behalf of the substantive Attorney General (AG) and behalf of the entire staff of the AGs chambers and on my own personal behalf to wish you farewell on your retirement my lord.”

She for a good part provided the history of the judge’s career on the bench as she revealed: Justice Redhead  first served in Montserrat in 1985 as he had noted, “…and that is a time at which quite a few of the young attorneys who currently appear before you, quite a few of them were at that stage were not even in primary school yet but it has been quite very long,” indicating that her first interaction with him, “came about fourteen years ago when I was actually serving as Registrar of the High Court and you came as Justice of Appeal.”

She noted that Redhead and served forty-two years from when he was first admitted to the bar. “The last thirty-five years and five months, you have indicated that you have served on the bench of the Eastern Caribbean Court in the capacity of High Court judge and also as Justice of Appeal and as you indicated this is the longest period that any judicial officer has served within the region.” That she noted, “is something quiet tremendous and of note.”

She noted the judge’s “illustrious career and your unwavering support of doing your part to uphold the rule of law and to ensure that justice was served will not soon be forgotten…” saying he had “left an indelible mark on the jury students of the East Caribbean Supreme court and the fact that there so many people present here my lord to acknowledge your distinguish judicial career is a sign of the administration and the respect my lord that we have for you.”

Like others to come after her in similar words, she told the Judge, “My lord you have served the legal profession with distinction over many years, you have brought to the bench tremendous depth and breadth of experience my lord and I will like to congratulate you…”

Kenneth

Barrister-at-law Kenneth Allen QC

Mr. Allen who spoke next, “You have served the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court faithfully and with distinction. I was here from the beginning -I have been here for 57 years,” as we went on to speak about the romance of retirement.

“We did not need long fellow or Shakespeare or our own distinguished poet Sir Howard Fergus to define for us what retirement means we know that, that romantic term is associated with words like rest and peace and quiet and ending and finishing and departing and so on…just thinking of a sunset but even as the sun will rise again tomorrow and retrace your journey or some part of it you have done all of that with honor setting records along the way,” he said with admiration.

Mr. Allen noted: “something of which I am absolutely certain, you have always been well loved in Montserrat and in St. Kitts my mother country, and you having chosen one of Antigua’s finest ladies to be your wife I have no doubt that the position is the same there. You have groomed and nurtured distinguished scholars… I personally know that your hobbies are gardening and fishing and reading… you have been rehearsing for retirement for many years and now the time has come now that you are lord and master of your faith where no one can tell you what to do, how to do it and when to do it.”

“May God grant perfect peace and good health to you and her (the wife) for the rest of your years and may they be many and happy,” he concluded.

Mr. David Brand, senior next to Kenneth Allen, recalled the judge’s diligence, “…while serving on the Court of Appeal from 1997 to 2004 throughout the decades while you sat as a judge, you have shown what it means to be fair minded and independent. He alluded to something the judge would speak to in his response; while delivering his own accolades to the judge, humorous on the way. “In doing your duties as I said before, you are willing to give advice that in a mire that only the wise can perceive what you’re saying…

David Brandt“It is important that those who are on this side have every confidence that he (the judge) will apply the law as he sees it. That is very important… you know the rules and like an umpire…you say out, and you know why…”

The senior counsel revealed that the retiring judge, is a fantastic dancer. My learned friend said that you were interested in gardening and reading but I didn’t know that. I’m sure he does not know that you are a fantastic dancer.”

HogarthContinuing to address the judge in rank of seniority, came Hogarth Sergeant, who seemed more brief than those before him, but he also remembered the judge taking up the appointment to serve Montserrat in 1985, when he served as Magistrate/Registrar. He spoke to the judge’s experience, and his understanding, and speaking on behalf of the other lawyers who would not be privileged to speak, paying tribute on behalf of the Registry staff and those of long ago, recalling Mrs, Eileen Edwards.

“Your honor has always been a true supporter of the profession and from your long standing experience you know the difficulties that can be faced with clients, but you’re always a pleasure to appear before, because you remained courteous to all.
Mr. Sergeant said the judge was leaving the court in interesting times. “We now have case management for criminals in assizes, case management for appeals, a new family court, a new commercial division – so you are leaving the court sir in interesting times.”

He joked about the judge’s retirement, “…I know you will still earn an income from your fishing and your farming, and your dancing,” adding his bit about the judge being valuable to the Court, “a very long standing, serving and valuable judge.”

“ We thank you for the time you have spent with us and we are sorry today that your dear wife is not here today to witness this … because of circumstances beyond her control. I wish you well in retirement.”

KarlMr. Karl Markham followed. He took time to expand on an appearance where himself and Brandt appeared before Redhead, treating with a case Brandt referred to out of Law School. He promised brevity, coming behind Allen, Brandt and Sergeant, but informed he was also speaking in the capacity of the missing president and the vice president of the bar association. “I join with my colleagues to bid you farewell to what has been a most illustrious legal career on the bench… Now coming after Mr. Allen, Mr. Grant and Mr. Sergeant there is much more that I can say but in the interest of time I will seek to be very brief.”

He noted those speaking before him, “have done so based on personal experiences gained from practicing before you in this court and in the court of appeal. It is said that a lawyer should firstly know judge with whom he is practicing so my personal perception of you, is that of a judge who is bent on doing what is perceived to be the right thing, the correct thing, the moral thing.”

Before closing with best wishes for the judge, he admitted, “what is right and correct could be very well subjective what is moral is not…over the years you have been perceived as a common law judge committed to fairness and justice. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the overlapping of law and morality,” he concluded.

SullivanDirector of Public Prosecution (DPP) Oris Sullivan was next and began joking that he was the last batsman as in cricket of whom not much is expected; the judge joked back, “I wonder why!” He began, “Like most of the speakers before me I’ve known you for quite a long time,” noting that” in another life I was a police officer and in that same life I had the opportunity to work as your security back in the days of Plymouth at the Montserrat Springs Hotel.”

He recalled that Judge Redhead was “the first judge I knew.” it was a pleasure for him (no doubt he aimed at being a lawyer since then) “to attend the court house to listen to you.” He said he believed at the time in order to learn anything and in order to be a good police officer, “you must attend court’” as he made time to do in his spare time.

“I can say now that I have gained quite a lot from listening to you. Now that you’re retiring I can make a couple of confessions; that you’ve always been my favorite judge. I consider you to be a friend and now that you are retiring, I know everyone spoke about fishing, I hope to get some of that fish,” (he joked).

He revealed he was reminded by the Commissioner of Police to speak on behalf of all law enforcement agencies because they may not get an opportunity to speak. “So I want to say on behalf of the Police Service, the Prison Service, Customs and Excise, the Inland Revenue Service, the Financial Services Commission and all those other services that we saw as the prosecution agency on their behalf and on our own behalf, I want to wish you well,” finally wishing the judge, “ Best of luck in your future endeavors, long life and happiness to yourself and Mrs. June Redhead. I’m sorry she’s not here so I can wish her personally.”

ActeeHon. Master of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, Agnes Actee (served in Montserrat as Registrar) joined Justice Redhead on the bench and she brought greetings and best wishes from the Hon. Chief Justice Dame Janice Pereira who was on duty in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and could not be present in Montserrat for the occasion.

In her opening she added The Commissioner of Police and wife and commander of the Royal Montserrat Defence Force as well as members of the Clergy.

It is a privilege she said to “be here to finally bid farewell to you justice Redhead from the bench. For me today is nostalgic as it was on the 20th November, 2011 I sat here in the arena as acting registrar of the high court of Montserrat,” she said, adding, “Never did I envisage that I would today on the 20th of July 2016 be sitting next to you judge to under bench to bid you farewell…”

She recalled it was here “I obtained a baptism by fire in the first time ever sitting in a criminal trial from its commencement to the end…My experience with you here on Montserrat will remain perpetually edged in my memory,” she said that justice Redhead “you took me through the entire process of a criminal trial…I learnt the entire gamut of a criminal trial process from you judge for which I am eternally grateful,” as the experience here in Montserrat (with the judge) “better prepared me for my position on the bench,” having the opportunity to experience your detailed knowledge in both civil and criminal law.

She said “One thing I wish to emulate is the speed at which you write your judgments.”

She ended by outlining the qualities which she observed, even as the judge had ‘retired several times before’, citing him as the perfect judge. Conveying, ‘our’ gratitude for your dedicated service she concluded: “Judge your career on the bench has been long and distinguished. Your career and life epitomise all the true qualities required of a perfect judge. You have demonstrated integrity, good character and reputation, fairness, independence, impartiality, maturity, sound social awareness, courtesy, and most of all humility.”

The judge in his response said, ”It is with profound sadness that I too, say my final goodbye to the bench and the lovely people of Montserrat after 31 years and five months in Montserrat,” informing of the exact date he arrived. “I first arrived here as a judge on the 4th of March 1985. I have enjoyed tremendously sitting in Montserrat because apart from my love for the law, Montserratians are wonderful people,” he said.

The judge said he had served in all nine Islands of the OECS. “I can say without an iota of doubt that Montserratians ranks number one – among the people I have served in the region.”

He said this was so, because, “Montserratians in my view are a very affable people; easy to get along with, law abiding.

“Not with-standing your small population, I am firmly of the view that you are the most law abiding people in the nine territories in which I have served,” he said.

He made the observation of the very good relationship he enjoyed with the bar in Montserrat. “I have had a wonderful cooperation with members of the bar throughout,” he said, referring to QC Allen who appeared before him many times, “and you were my senior in practice of the law, but you accepted my rulings without a murmur, as far as I know; we did not always agree, and you appealed as it was your right to do.”

But then he stated another observation he refers to “a disturbing trend, not only in Montserrat, among lawyers who are not prepared to accept the ruling of the court in that they complain openly.”

He said, “They murmur.  “The judge cannot always be right but my mantra is that I know I cannot always be right, but I am satisfied that I am right when I do something. If you feel the judge is wrong, appeal.”

He expressed the view that, “to show open dissent against the ruling of a judge is disrespectful. You do not agree with the judges’ decision appeal.

The retiring judge said further: “I say this not to criticize anybody particularly, but for the love of the bar, I think this practice should stop,” noting his love and devotion to the bar, the law. “I say this must practice must stop.

“Finally,” he said, “let me say co-operation between the bench and the bar advance the cause of justice. May God bless us all. I thank you.”

To applause the judge adjourned the sitting saying: “I am humbled by the many good things that were said about me. I hope that I have made a contribution even if infinitesimal in my sojourn on the bench,” rising from the bench to the tune from the gallery, “For he is a jolly good fellow.”