After delivering judgments in the morning, in the afternoon a special sitting of the Supreme Court was convened at the chambers of the Acting Chief Justice to bid Justice John Muria farewell. Members of the judiciary and the legal profession attended the event to pay tribute to the jurist that became a familiar face on the bench since 2006. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.
Isani Cayetano, Reporting
Justice John Muria is originally from the Solomon Islands. The distinguished jurist came to Belize as part of his Commonwealth tour of duty. Muria, whose career in law spans thirty-two years, presided over a number of high profile cases including the extradition hearings of brothers Gary and Mark Seawell. His last rulings were handed down today and he upheld a decision handed down by the London Court of International Arbitration which ruled in favor of the British Caribbean Bank. During his address Muria spoke of the role the legal community plays in the development of society.
John Muria, Supreme Court Justice
“Legal practitioners being trained and nurtured in the law and occupying an especially privileged place in the community, agents of the development not only of the law but of society on a whole. You can do that as practicing attorneys or legal advisors and you can also do that as judicial officers or the bench, the Supreme Court bench, higher bench or the lower bench. As practicing attorneys you can excite changes and engineer legal developments by your legal researchers, submissions, legal arguments which are either presented to the courts in litigations or to those who seek your legal advice. This can be profound impact on the social and economic development of the country as well as of the law.”
Commending Muria on his brief but successful tenure was Attorney General B.Q. Pitts who reflected on the judge’s service to Belize.
B.Q. Pitts, Attorney General
“We hope that we will find it possible for you and your family to come back and visit with us. Belize and Belizeans will always welcome Sir John Muria and his family to Belize. The judiciary and the legal services will miss you when you are gone especially because of your firmness and fairness in administering the law in your court. Well done Sr. John. Our prime minister and the government and people of Belize profusely offer their sincere thanks and gratitude to you and your esteemed family for having provided us with excellent service. May you have a safe package as you journey back home and may you and your family enjoy a happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year. Long live Sr. John.”
Before ending his address Justice Muria also spoke of the experience he has gained from members of the bar association in their many arguments before him.
“If there is one thing I can say in support of your leadership role of the Bar Association it is the fact that I greatly enjoyed an enriching experience and benefits from the many outstanding arguments, submissions and advocacy emanating from the members of the bar here in Belize in my courtroom especially.”
Muria and his two daughters will be returning to the Solomon Islands in his retirement. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.