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AN APPRECIATION.

(Bt an Old Peru,.)

The' Canterbury Bar will Jong cherieh the memory of Thomas Ingham Joynt. Judged by ite longth alone, bis career of forty-four years of activo practice in Christchurch is a notable one. Commencing in the sixties, when Mr Greseon was Judge, it extended without a break, and without even a long holiday, until a week or two ago. During that long timo his comrades at the Bar caw in him the great advocate. He had tho first great qualification of his arduous profession, untiring industry. Forty years ago ho might have been seen, as wo saw him less than forty days ago, wending his way home after office, with his small brief Dag in his hand, carrying with him Uie work that on most nights of the week occupied his evening hours. It has aver been the same. Tho great lawyer has perforce to lie a groat worker, to "scorn delights and live laborious days," and Mr Joynt did not fail in this respect. His power of concentration upon his work was tho more remarkable as he was by naturo intended' for comradeship and bonhomie. On the country peregrinations of tho earlier days of his practice ho was the prince of good iellowe. Ever ready with a good story —and, what is perhaps rarer, with an apt story—his comradeship relieved tho tedium of many a long journey. Tho robing room will miss his happy sallies, his exuberant wit, and his gieat kindliness of heart.

As nn advocate ho was at the zenith of his power during the days of Judgo Johnston. Criminal trials, nisi prius actions, banco arguments, nil came alike. Hβ was great in all. Thoso wero tho days when epccial pleading w-as a thing of might, when many a meritorious case was arrested in its progress by the technicalities that wero deemed essential by tho procedure of the time. It behoved counsel to be wary and accurate and learned, not merely at the trial, but long before the trial was reached. They were tho bad old days of demurrers and what not— bad old days, that is to say, for tho pockets of client's and the time of the Court, but good days for the training of tho Bar in clear reasoning and precise expression. The old procedure has something to bo said for it in that it turned out men of the pattern of Mr Joyiit. But in his caso thero was something mom than the training. Hβ had literary gifts in great measure. His English, liko the English of many of the mastere pf etylo, was drawn copiously from threo excellent wells—the Bible, Shakespeare, and tho poets. From all of these sources he could on occasion quote with great aptness, and they gave a flavour to his literary style — if a lawyer may be permitted to have a literary etyle. His oratory was never marked by what are called < "purplo patches,' but on groat occasions he rose to tho right note. It is not, however, oratory that makes for success at the Bar. The facts are, after ell. the important thing, and in his handling of facts in his best days Joynt was great; Nothing missed his memory, and in his cross-examination no was relentlessly keen. No evasion, no Fencing, no plea of forgetfulness availed a* witness who was in his hands. Yet in the zeal of his advocacy lie over remembered that truth and not £ho verdict is after all the thing to be desired. Opinion at. tho Bar will- no doubt -vcVy as to what were his best per>formances. The present writer, who eat beside him in many an Homeric fight, believes that ho was at his best in an uphill losing case. Difficulties seemed to put !bim on his mettle. But when individual cases and individual performances axe forgotten, tho gonial jversonality will . remain, Juries looked , to him to see to it that their time in Court should not be dull. Ue always had some little pleasantry on I hand to keep them awake. ''Gentlemen," he said to them, when opening what proved to be a long and tedious I caso on water rights, "gentlemen, although (his case is all: about watclfl, il j m afraid you will find it very dry." For Mr Justice Johnston, who deany loved a classical quotation, he always had one on liana. A event's case once turned on whether a dog was or was not of a savage disposition. Mr Joynt's witnesses testified that the dog was gentle and amiai>»e: .as against this, a witness for the.outer side testified' that on many occasions the dog had run at him, barking savagely. "Vox, et proeterea nihil, your Honour," interposed Mr Joynt, to the great appreciation of tho Bencn. Legal reminiscenced are apt to read rather thin when the stories they recall tro taken out of their surroundings, but the early days of tho Canterbury Bar ought to furnish material for a very readable volume. No man was better qualified than Mr Joynt to have written such a book, to bo the "vateseacor" of tho early days of the profession in this province. Possibly ho may have left material boibind , him for the writing of such a bcok, but more probably he has followed the way of all old colonists, going to 'h.is last rest leaving behind him nothing more abiding than tho memory of good work faithfully done, and the abiding affection of those who knew him. (

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/CHP19070909.2.26.1

Bibliographic details

AN APPRECIATION., Press, Volume LXIII, Issue 12904, 9 September 1907

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914

AN APPRECIATION. Press, Volume LXIII, Issue 12904, 9 September 1907

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