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The Full Court chaired by Her Honour, Yonette Cummings-Edwards, met in New Amsterdam, Berbice, after a very lengthy lapse of 51 years and created history on December 22 2020 in Guyana.
This is another great and fantastic example of how the wheels of justice turns in Guyana, slowly but surely, Mr. Editor!!
The occasion – to induct Senior Counsel, Murseline Bacchus, into the inner Bar, in open court. It is that occasion that has caused me to pen these few words to you Mr. Editor, in applauding that outstanding decision of the Chancellor to have done so on that memorable day.
Murseline mentored me when I was a student Attorney-at-Law during my studies at Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad & Tobago. I was fortunate. He later forwarded in writing, a good report on me, and which I later got a glimpse of in the Senior Tutor’s Office at his Offices located in the St. Augustine Campus, when he had cause to show me it, as I had gotten into hot waters as a student therein. That Senior Tutor is, sadly, now deceased
An American lawyer once said that one can be a great orator and have the quickest mind, use the cleverest psychology, and have mastered all the technical devices of argument, but if one isn’t ‘credible’ one might just as well preach to birds.
This is accurate and very applicable to the long awaited and much overdue induction of Murseline to don his Silk garb, as I witnessed in courts when I would accompany Muchu to courts, whenever he interacted with the court, especially at the Court of Appeal, he was a very credible individual.
I can safely say that most, if not all, judges and magistrates trusted and continue to trust Muchu, since he is a lawyer whose style of advocacy is one which shuns overselling his case. As well, one can never say that Muchu ever brought a frivilous suit to court during his lengthy career.
On a personal front, I say that Muchu always was quick to acknowledge weaknesses in his position, and made concession if warranted, thus in Berbice, Murseline Bacchus got the ranking of being the most capable and most revered at the Bar table from about 2008 to the present. This is due to the fact that as an advocate he had tremendous energy, passion, and confidence when making his points. And, whenever he was asked a tough question by a judge or magistrate, he would not grimace, but would look rather composed and confident, like he is only really there to try to help the Officer. I can say this offhand because he was my mentor and I sat beside him on many occasions during a lengthy period, during his deliveries at the Berbice and Georgetown High Courts and Magistrates’ Courts in New Amstersdam, Rosignol, Mahaicony, No 51, Reliance, Albion, and Springlands.
I remember well that in demonstrating his expertise, before Muchu threw a lot of information and a lot of detail at a judge or magistrate, he would begin with the point of the detail, the context for it. I have never heard a judge asking Muchu, “Why are you telling me all this?” That was because he usually begins his argument by telling the judge what the case was all about and why he should win. And Muchu was so gifted in his oratory that he would continue giving the judge the context all the way through his argument to minutes before he took his seat.
I also say Muchu appealed to emotion. He must have realized that a major part of any decision is emotional. Emotion usually has the power to move hearts and minds of judges and magistrates. I remember vividly once Muchu was asking for bail for a robbery accused at New Amsterdam magistrate’s court and Her Worship Kim Kyte-John was the magistrate, and he mentione dthat the accused having attained 18 years still had his mother’s breast milk on his lips. Needless to say, the application was upheld. Muchu had a fantastic way to appeal to the court’s emotions and his skill was in evoking those emotions indirectly, not in invoking it directly. He simply used a clear and persuasive presentation of the facts. I trust that the courts continue to have this stalwart canvassing their venues as the years beckon beyond 2021.
“M. Shabeer Zafar”