A senior attorney-at-law has said sorry for his conduct in the No. 3 Supreme Court during a murder trial last Friday.
Queen’s Counsel Larry Smith, who had exchanged heated words at various stages during the day’s hearing with presiding Justice Carlisle Greaves while defending his client Pedro Ellis, this morning rose to his feet before the case resumed in earnest and apologized.
The exchanges had gotten so testy at times, that Smith was twice cautioned by the judge that he could be found in contempt of court.
But today, Smith admitted to Justice Greaves that being one of Her Majesty’s Counsel, a senior member of the Bar and an officer of the court, he needed to conduct himself befitting the dignity of such a position.
“During the course of the trial there may have been occasions where I may not have been…depending on how you look at it…may not have been temperate in as much as I may have conducted myself in an intemperate fashion. I hereby offer my humblest apology,” he said.
“And notwithstanding where that testiness may come from…where that heat may come from…or how counsel may feel where the heat comes from or how it emanates, counsel should not assist in the raising of the temperature,” he added.
Smith however told the judge that it is his duty to represent his client fearlessly and zealously.
“And that is what I have done and certainly what I intend to do,” the Queen’s Counsel declared.
Nevertheless, he conceded such a duty must not be carried out at any cost.
“But being intemperate should not form part of that,” he acknowledged.
In a somewhat conciliatory response, Justice Greaves told Smith he has known him long enough to accept that he puts his heart into whatever he does.
“The difference between you and some counsel I have met in the past…there is no malice in your words,” the judge told Smith.
He recalled a previous occasion when he crossed paths with Smith in an appeal case and “I sent you packing with one ball; and I hope we would not find ourselves in a position like that, that I have to one-ball you again,” Justice Greaves cautioned.
However, he assured attorneys he had no intention of unduly restricting them in defending their clients even if it means challenging him on law.
The judge said he likes to give counsel some latitude and told the court he does not believe attorneys should be afraid when they come before him to represent their clients in the best way they know how.
But at the same time, Justice Greaves suggested, that all things must be done in decency and in order.
He insisted that attorneys must conduct themselves in a manner that would make their ancestors proud.
“We must stand proud in these institutions to represent ourselves. I like to refer to the words of the National Anthem often when I am seeking inspiration… ‘We write our names on history’s page with expectations great. Strict guardians of our heritage, firm craftsmen of our fate,’” the judge declared.