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Oct 25, 2016

Final Honors for Michael Young, S.C. at Supreme Court

Court sessions scheduled for this morning were suspended in Belize City where a special sitting of the Supreme Court was held to honor the late Senior Counsel Michael Young. The career attorney-at-law committed suicide exactly one week ago today and was laid to rest at Homeland Memorial Park on Monday. Today, the legal fraternity paid homage to the sixty-one-year-old lawyer. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Kenneth Benjamin, Chief Justice of Belize

“With his passing, the world and Belize have lost a gentleman, and avid student of the law, an advocate and a family man.”


Michael Young

Duane Moody, Reporting

Today, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin convened a special sitting of the Supreme Court to honor the memory of Senior Counsel Michael Young. Justices of the Supreme Court, as well as members of the legal fraternity joined Young’s wife, children and grandchildren to remember the esteemed attorney. Today’s activities follow Monday’s funeral service for the sixty-one-year-old attorney, held at Wesley Methodist Church on Albert Street in the presence of Governor General Sir Colville Young and Prime Minister Dean Barrow. At today’s event, Chief Justice Benjamin reminisced about graduating along with Young from UWI Cavehill Branch in 1975 at age twenty-one, but would not meet again until thirty-four years later, in 2011 when he became Belize’s CJ.


Kenneth Benjamin

Kenneth Benjamin

“Not in the wildest imagination of anyone—whether present today or not—would it have been foreseen that the Supreme Court would be sitting on this day to mark the passing of and to pay tribute to our esteemed colleague, Michael Clarence Edward Young, Senior Council. Michael loved the law and devoted his entire working life to applying and practicing the law. He has made his contribution to the development of the law. I pause to say that along with other senior counsels, he was a member of the ad-hoc committee that assisted the then Chief Justice Doctor Abdulai Conteh in compiling the Supreme Court Civil Procedure Rules 2005.”


At age forty-one, on January fifteenth 1996—some twenty years ago—Young was admitted to the Bar by Chief Justice George Brown, even though he had been in practice for some nineteen years. Over the years however, his legal peers would define Young as being astute, unfailingly courteous and punctual in his appearances before the court. The proceedings were first addressed by President of the Bar Association, Priscilla Banner, who claimed that her high school work experience at Young’s Law Firm influenced her career decision.


Priscilla Banner

Priscilla Banner, President, Bar Association of Belize

“In December 2011, remarking on the death of a fellow member, he stated; “As we stood, sat, robed in black, the underscore that we at the Bar are a fraternity; it is a fraternity that should override and overreach differences that would otherwise divide. After all, law, litigation and advocacy are about differences, disputes and thus if the Bar is a fraternity, then we must handle those differences as learned friends.”


Denys Barrow

Denys Barrow, Attorney

“Hard work, thoroughness,making the extra effort, high standards, commitment, conviction and a belief in justice imbued Michael’s work and performance as a lawyer. For good reason, my brother yesterday described Michael as a lawyer’s lawyer. It is a high accolade to be regarded by other lawyers as what a lawyer should be.”


Derek Courtenay

Derek Courtenay, Attorney

“He was a colleague who always had time for a chat as well as for discussion of whatever is the burning topic of the day or the decision of the court which perplexed everybody. He was an open and approachable person, available to his colleagues as well as to others in need of counsel or more tangible assistance. His knowledge of the law and the disciplined approached to practice is well known and celebrated.”


Attorney Lois Young, who currently serves as the Permanent Representative of Belize to the United Nations, lightened the mood in the courtroom while still in shock of the passing of her friend.


Lois Young

Lois Young, Attorney

“When I heard the news of Michael’s death on Tuesday, the eighteenth of October, I had just left a UN meeting. Ironically that previous Sunday, I had seen the movie, the Magnificent Seven, and you could have heard me telling a friend of mine how much Denzel Washington resembled Michael Young or vice-versa. I would say, “It’s Michael Young; he is in that movie.” I will never forget the news; it sent me into shock and then a profound sadness came over me and it has lasted all this time.”


Close friend and colleague, Attorney Rodwell Williams, who did the eulogy at the memorial service on Monday, also rose at today’s special sitting to address the family.


Rodwell Williams

Rodwell Williams, Attorney

“I wish to say to the family that you see the support and presence in this courtroom today so that there is no need for you to think that your father was unaccomplished or not strong. The support you see here today in this courtroom and the words that you’ve heard are indeed genuine and indicative of the person he was. So we join you in saying goodbye to him.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Final Honors for Michael Young, S.C. at Supreme Court”

  1. ems says:

    If there is a place called paradise/heaven where justice is served, suicide will not be considered great. With all respect due the late great Michael Young the fact remains he committed suicide. If he was a faceless, nameless Belizeans perhaps we would not have heard as much as a peep from anyone about him/her.

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