Monday, June 26, 2017

McNicolls dies

FORMER chief magistrate Sherman McNicolls, who gave a police statement five years ago that led to a criminal charge being laid against Chief Justice Sat Sharma died on Thursday.

McNicolls, who also famously sentenced former prime minister Basdeo Panday to two years in prison, ejected senior counsel Fyard Hosein from the court for wearing a bow tie and booted senior counsel Israel Khan for wearing a dashiki, passed away at the Mt Hope Medical Sciences Complex.

McNicolls, who was himself slapped with multiple disciplinary charges after failing to testify in court against Sharma (who was later discharged and returned to the bench), went on medical leave in December 2009, diagnosed with chronic lymphoid leukaemia. He sought medical treatment in Canada and retired a year later.

Little was heard from McNicolls, of Torrib Road, New Grant, until he turned up in the San Fernando Magistrates' Court in March this year, representing a man from his village and telling reporters he was back in private practice.

McNicolls presided over the Piarco Airport enquiry; and heard the years-long preliminary enquiry that led to former United National Congress minister Dhanraj Singh being committed to stand trial for murder.

He was called to the bar in 1982, and joined the office of the Chief State Solicitor. He was promoted to the position of Assistant Registrar of the Supreme Court, and was one of the person to witness the execution, in 1994, of killer Glen Ashby before being elevated to the Magistrates' Court.

McNicolls, 58, was the father of four and First Elder of the Torrib Trace Seventh Day Adventist Church, located in the village where he also oversaw his agricultural estates.

The Judiciary issued a press statement yesterday, expressing condolences, particularly to his four children. He was described by Chief Justice Ivor Archie as "an individual of even temperament who was able to maintain his calm, even in the most challenging circumstances, including his illness and also numerous high-profile cases which engaged his attention during his career".

McNicolls served as Chief Magistrate between 1999 and 2009. He broke his service between 1993 and 1998 to serve as Registrar and Marshall of the Supreme Court.