'Bill' McCalla was one of the most decent men I knewThursday, April 08, 2021
In November 1986, as a very young Crown Counsel, I was dispatched by Mr Ian X Forte, QC (as he then was), my director of public prosecutions, to conduct the prosecutions in the St Mary Circuit Court. The trial judge was the late Mr Justice Theobalds.
In those days the members of the St Mary Criminal Bar consisted of men such as Howard Hamilton, QC; William “Bill” McCalla; Lincoln Robinson; George Bellnavis; Trevor Malcolm; and Chester Henlin. The St Mary Criminal Bar was characterised by its great courtesy. Although Howard Hamilton, QC, was the leader at that Bar, for all practical purposes Bill McCalla was the de facto leader.
He had the most cases at that circuit and he was most helpful to young counsel such as Trevor Malcolm and Chester Henlin. He was a skilful cross-examiner, a clever strategist, and a forceful advocate for his clients. In the most difficult of circumstances, the most tiring of situations, Bill always acted with dignified composure.
In victory and in defeat he was neither haughty and arrogant on the one hand, nor a complainer and fault-finder on the other hand.
The circuit lasted for four weeks, but was the beginning of a long, professional association between us. His virtues remained the same.
Simply, he was one of the most decent men that I have had the pleasure of knowing.
Our nation is poorer for his passing.
Walter H Scott, QC
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