Wed | Aug 5, 2020

Zacca hailed for exemplary service to judiciary

Published:Tuesday | November 12, 2019 | 12:26 AMNickoy Wilson/Gleaner Writer

Late former Chief Justice of Jamaica Sir Edward Zacca has been eulogised as a fair judge who served the judiciary for some 38 years until his retirement in 1996.

Zacca, 88, died yesterday morning after a short illness.

The Jamaican Bar Association (JAMBAR) has saluted the late jurist for his decades of service.

“He provided exemplary service to the legal profession through the judiciary in Jamaica, particularly as the first Jamaican judge to be appointed to the Privy Council in the UK. He certainly stood at the forefront of our judiciary during his period as chief justice,” JAMBAR President Emile Leiba told The Gleaner.

“He was said by those who appeared before him to be fair and balanced, an excellent judge who was a good, decent and an honourable man, and so his death is certainly a loss to all of us, and he was rightly recognised for all his contributions to the justice system. He will be missed,” Leiba added.

Zacca was sworn in as chief justice in Jamaica in 1985. He was made a member of Britain’s Privy Council on September 1, 1992, and was the fourth Caribbean chief justice to be appointed to the Privy Council and the first from Jamaica.

Attorney-at-law Frank Phipps, QC, who served as JAMBAR president from 1988 to 1991, also expressed condolences.

“First of all, as a judge, we will remember him. He was a gentleman who knew some law, with the qualifications in that order. Sir Edward Zacca was a quiet gentleman who, in his dispensation of justice to the individual, treated all persons equally. I remember him well, and my wife and I regret his passing,” Phipps said.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness said he was “deeply saddened at news”.

“He carried out his duties fairly, fearlessly and justly as an important arm of the democratic system of governance,” the prime minister added.

In a statement, Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips said Zacca has given distinguished service to the country at the critical phases in our immediate post-Independence years.

“Justice Zacca’s reach and influence went far beyond the Jamaican shores ... . He developed a reputation for integrity, learning and excellence in judicial circles,” he said.

Zacca, who was knighted by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth in 2015, also served in the Courts of Appeal in Bermuda, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Cayman Islands.