CHIEF JUSTICE Ivor Archie was one of many in the legal fraternity to pay homage to deceased attorney Theodore "Teddy" Guerra, who passed away yesterday morning after battling colon cancer.
In a media release, Archie said Guerra could be regarded justifiably as a stalwart of the criminal Bar, with a career spanning more than 40 years.
"He was a powerful and passionate advocate, whether his role was that of defence attorney or of prosecutor. His performance at the Bar was distinguished by many high-profile cases, including trials arising out of the events surrounding the 1970 State of Emergency in Trinidad and Tobago," Archie said.
The Chief Justice added that with the passing of Guerra, the legal profession recorded the loss of one of its "most experienced champions".
Archie, on behalf of the Judiciary of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, and on his own behalf, extended deep condolences to his family in particular, and the legal fraternity in general.
Also expressing condolences was Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard, SC, who described the 80-year-old attorney as a legend in the sphere of criminal law.
"Even while I was in primary school, his name had already been easily recognisable in the field of law. He was clever, bold and extremely prescient as to the inner workings of the minds of jurors. Personally, he was a bit of a mentor to me."
Gaspard recalled Guerra's ability to always be mischievously avuncular and he taught him many lessons.
"Socially he was equable and funny with a deep and abiding love for the people of Santa Cruz. He loved cricket and like that other celebrated son of Santa Cruz, Brian Lara, he has played a magnificent innings. To the family of this legal and community doyen, I extend, on behalf of my office, my warmest condolences. I will miss Teddy," Gaspard said.
In paying tribute, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, SC, said Guerra was a "larger than life" figure whose contributions to the legal profession and public life were invaluable.
"He epitomised the true 'Trini spirit' and way of life, with a sense of humility and dedication to duty," Ramlogan said.
"Throughout his legal career, Mr Guerra never hesitated to advance his legal expertise to those who needed [it], no matter their financial circumstances. His legacy and career were heavily punctuated by his frequent pro bono (without fees) appearances in court. Furthermore, he was a regular volunteer for Legal Aid work, which means his demise has left an immense void in the legal profession," Ramlogan said, adding that he hopes members of the legal profession mark Guerra's passing by undertaking more pro bono cases in future.
Guerra is expected to be buried on Monday following a service at the Santa Cruz Roman Catholic Church.