Retiring jurat thanked for his ‘extraordinary public service’
AFTER nearly a decade on the bench, Jurat Niall McCathie is retiring.
He is shortly to move to the UK with his wife, Pippa, to be closer to their family.
Bailiff Sir Richard Collas paid tribute to the jurat, describing him as respected and trusted colleague.
The pair have known each other since they both attended Beechwood school.
‘You will best be remembered in Guernsey for the extraordinary public service you have given to the island and for the successful initiatives that you have championed and led, which have gone from strength to strength and continue to do so,’ he said.
The former Elizabeth College pupil read civil engineering at King’s College London and then entered into a career in that field.
‘A contract in Iran was interrupted by the untimely removal of the Shah and after a few years you returned to your home island and established your own successful civil engineering firm and consultancy,’ Sir Richard said.
‘I recall that your professional knowledge, your analytical expertise and the clarity of your expert opinions made you a first choice expert in all manner of contested building, property and boundary disputes. As an advocate, I was always happier when you were on my side or at least if the insurers could be persuaded to settle early.’
After returning to Guernsey, he joined St Peter Port douzaine and in 1991 he became a States member – first as a douzaine representative and then as a deputy.
He also helped in the community.
‘Among your long-lasting successes you were instrumental, or perhaps I should say inspirational, in the launch of Floral Guernsey, which you chaired for some eight years,’ Sir Richard said.
‘The pleasure that Floral Guernsey’s displays have brought to countless people, locals and visitors alike is immeasurable.
‘Another project of which we here in the courts are especially appreciative is Victim Support, of which you were also one of the founders and were the first chairman.
‘Sitting as a jurat and seeing a witness supported by a volunteer from Victim Support or giving evidence from the witness suite by video link, it must be very satisfying for you to know that, however traumatic and distressing their ordeal might have been, at least the stress of giving evidence is less than it would have been without the charitable help that you initiated.’
Sir Richard said it was clear Jurat McCathie wanted to work towards social equality, which was shown in his work to establish and promote Liberate.
‘Thanks to you and to others, although the work of Liberate is still unfinished, it has made huge progress in a comparatively short period of time.
‘There are not many islanders of your generation who can claim to have made as big a difference to the island as you have done.’