Fond memories of judge

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 May, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 May, 1993, 12:00am

I WAS saddened by the news of the sudden death of the former Chief Justice of Hongkong, Sir Geoffrey Briggs.

During the years when he was still a justice of the Supreme Court, as a solicitor appearing before him in chambers or in court with counsel, I was able to observe this fine man.

His judgements, seldom reserved and occasionally appealed against, were concise, quick and to the point.

Sir Geoffrey may not have been a judge of immense legal and intellectual prowess, but he was a man of much understanding and compassion.

I remember on many occasions when somewhat inexperienced counsel and in particular Chinese counsel with limited fluency of the English language appeared before him, one could not but be amazed by the patience, tolerance and guidance with which Sir Geoffrey assisted counsel step by step.

Of course he could be very stern and unremitting when the occasion or situation required it. But Sir Geoffrey invariably did all in his power, for justice and for the underdog.

Off the bench he was a man with many interests. He was, in particular, interested in things Chinese and objet d'art. One could bump into him browsing around Cat Street on a Sunday or even bidding in an auction.

I did not know Sir Geoffrey on a personal basis, but somehow I felt somewhat lost and sad that he is no longer with us in this world.

K. WONG Central