Zim's first Chief Justice cremated

SIR John Fieldsend’s remains have been cremated and his family and friends attended a private ceremony yesterday to pay their respects to the first Zimbabwe Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Fieldsend died in Mid Sussex in the United Kingdom, his son said.

The service came after Fieldsend — appointed to the Supreme Court on July 1, 1980 by non-executive President and Methodist cleric, the late Reverend Canaan Banana — died after a long and courageous fight against lung cancer two weeks ago aged 95.

Fieldsend’s remains have been cremated and his final resting place will remain private.
His cremation was followed by a memorial service in the local Ardingly Parish Church near the family’s home in Mid Sussex, according to his Haywards Heath-based son Peter.

He was appointed to the Supreme Court on July 1, 1980 following the resignation of Hector Norman Macdonald, who administered the oath of office to President Robert Mugabe, the first prime minister of the reconstituted country, in April 1980.

Swiftly, a remarkable court grew up around Fieldsend who was succeeded initially by a Caribbean judge, Telford Georges, then by one of the most remarkable judges of Africa, Enoch Dumbutshena.

Dumbutshena and his successor, Antony Gubbay, were also influential in the building up of a court remarkable in its reflection of racial diversity, talent and independence.

“Justice Fieldsend was an extraordinarily fine judge and was largely responsible for establishing Zimbabwe’s judiciary as one the Commonwealth’s finest institutions,” human rights lawyer and senior partner at Webb, Low and Barry law firm David Coltart said this week.

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