Top UK criminal lawyer Jerome Lynch QC has been Called to the Bermuda Bar. Mr Lynch has made several appearances in the Bermuda courts to represent clients in high-profile criminal cases, traveling to the Island from his chambers in London. He has also acted in other Bermuda-related legal matters.
In a lighthearted ceremony yesterday — peppered with anecdotes about Mr Lynch from members of the Bar who were on hand to support his application — Puisne Judge Charles Etta Simmons prompted laughter by noting that it was unusual for her to admit someone older than herself.
On admitting young lawyers to the Bar, Mrs Justice Simmons explained to the crowded courtroom that she would give them “a little pep talk”.
“I don’t have a pep talk for you,” she added.
Mr Lynch told supporters gathered in Supreme Court One that he had first been Called to the Bar in 1983 in the UK by Lord Denning, who was then the Master of the Rolls. The senior Court of Appeal judge had argued that all British citizens were no longer qualified to serve on juries because “the English are no longer a homogeneous race”.
Mr Lynch said he refused to have his photograph taken with Lord Denning after the ceremony because of the comment.
It was 17 years ago, the same year as Nelson Mandela was made a Queen’s Counsel, that he too was made a QC. “A great honour it was, too,” he said. “Now, I am about to be made the most junior member of the Bar,” he added, to laughter.
Mark Diel called it an unusual case “because my friend is already a powerful and notable advocate and represents the best interests of the Bar”, while another barrister said: “He is a force that will bring out the best in us and while doing so raise the standard of the Bar.”
Other barristers who spoke on his behalf included Marc Daniels, who called his presence on the Island an inspiration. “Undoubtedly he will leave his mark in this country,” he said.
Mark Pettingill said that junior lawyers could acquire knowledge from Mr Lynch. “There’s a lot one can learn from his approach and his acumen. I hope he can appear with other junior counsel from other firms,” he said, adding that it would be of “huge benefit to sit with Jerome Lynch”.
The former Attorney General also commented that the Bermuda Bar needs local QCs.
Mr Lynch also raised the subject of QCs. He said there was a small pool, but noted that there were “moves afoot to make lawyers silks again”.
He called it “a great idea — providing I’m on the committee”, to more laughter.
Mr Lynch moved to Bermuda to join Trott & Duncan in February last year. Speaking to The Royal Gazette yesterday morning, he explained that he made the change after 32 years of “doing the same thing”.
“The opportunity for change coincided with a change in my personal life,” he said.
Mr Lynch said that he and Deroy Duncan, of his new firm Trott & Duncan, had worked together in the same London chambers during an early stage of their careers.
On the cusp of his Call to the Bar, he said: “I look forward to no longer being a pupil — after 30-odd years, it is a bit strange.”
“I’m looking forward to crossing swords with some of the advocates here — Alan Dunch, Narinder Hargun, Mark Diel and Delroy Duncan all have something of a reputation.” He went on to include defence counsels Elizabeth Christopher and Charles Richardson to that list.
Mr Lynch said that it was not Bermuda’s sun and sand that brought him to the Island.
“For me, having the opportunity to practice in a different jurisdiction is quite exciting,” he said.
It was not a move that he had anticipated at this point in his career. “To do so on a semi-permanent basis is fascinating,” he added.
Mr Lynch first appeared in Bermuda’s Supreme Court in 2009, on the defence side, in the case of the stabbing death of teenager Kellon Hill at Elbow Beach.
He has also acted in several gang-related trials, defending Sanchey Grant in a case involving attempted murders at Southside Cinema, Antonio Meyer in the slaying of Kumi Hartford, and David Cox, who was accused of murdering Raymond “Yankee” Rawlins, all during 2011.
In 2013, he was reportedly in consideration for the position of Bermuda’s Solicitor General.
His UK chambers, Charter Chambers, stated that Mr Lynch practices at “the very highest level of the criminal calendar”, and that he was regularly involved in the defence of significant murders, frauds, corruption, offences under the Companies and Financial Services Acts, and money laundering.
Recent murder cases include Victoria Station murder, contract killings, gangland warfare, terrorism and ‘honour’ killings. He has also acted in fraud causes including prosecutions alleging fraud and insider trading.
They said: “His pro bono work has ranged far and wide including death row cases from Jamaica and fighting major planning applications at public inquiries on behalf of the communities affected.”