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‘My father taught us to hold on to principles’

daughter eulogises late Justice Tolla Thompson

October 14, 2016 By Regina Pratt

The remains of late Justice Tolla-Thompson lying on a catafalque

While paying tribute to his late father at the Miatta Conference Hall in Freetown yesterday, eldest daughter of Justice Maitland Emeric Tolla Thomson, Glenna Thompson told mourners that their father taught them to hold on to principles and be careful as to how they treat others in society.

“He loved to help people as he usually tells us to be careful as to how we treat others because we may not know what the future holds. He was an ordinary man doing ordinary things. He easily loses temper when you criticise Sierra Leone because of the love he had for his country,” she said at the civic laying out ceremony for the later jurist and football administrator.

Ms. Thompson, who is also a renowned lawyer, said the late man could be best described as a man of conviction, driven by fairness and justice and that certainly he was not materialistic.

“He was my friend, mentor, banker, prayer warrior,” she said.

Human Resource Officer at the Freetown City Council, Claude Campbell, said Mayor of Freetown Franklyn Bode-Gibson received with shock and sadness the death of the late Hon. Justice Thompson, who passed away on Monday, 26 September, 2016 aged 77.

He eulogised the late man as an eminent, celebrated, and distinguished legal luminary, adding that his biography was an attestation to such compliments.

He said the late Supreme Court Judge would be remembered for a very long time as well as greatly be missed.

“We are in a celebrated mood paying our last respect to this great man with this civic laying out ceremony organised by the city council,” he said.

Long-time Friend and ‘brother’, Hon. Justice Edmond Cowan, could not suppress the tears as he paid tribute to the late Justice Tolla Thompson, describing him as a man of integrity who was determined to succeed because he knew where he came from.

“He was never an impossible man as we had been together since 1953 until his demise. He gave us his best at the Constitutional Review Committee in which he was a member,” Justice Cowan said.

Justice Cowan, who is Ombudsman and Chair of the Constitutional Review Committee, said Sierra Leone has lost a patriot who loved his country, adding that he would not be remembered for the number of years he lived, but for the legacy he left behind as a true Prince Walean and a devoted Christian.

Paying tribute on behalf of the Judiciary, Hon. Justice Browne-Marke said he wished the late man had lived longer, as his death shocked all of them in the justice sector.

He said the late Judge never used vulgar language or expression, and treated everyone with respect – from his colleague Judges right down to the cleaners.

The late Hon. Justice (Canon) Maitland Emeric Tolla Thompson was born on 10th May, 1939. He attended the Bonthe Cathedral Boys Primary School and proceeded to the Prince of Wales Secondary School in Freetown.

He worked briefly as a Clerical Officer before proceeding to England in 1960 and was called to the Bar in 1971. The late Judge was appointed Deputy Master and Registrar in 1971, Magistrate in 1973, promoted to Senior Magistrate in 1975, Principal Magistrate in 1978, High Court Judge on 12th July, 1983, Appeal Court Judge in 1995, and as Supreme Court Judge in 2004.

He served in various companies as chairman, and was a keen sportsman since school days, and also served in various sports committee. He served as President of the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) before his appointment as Chairman of Political Parties Registration Commission.

He is survived by his wife and four children – Glenna, Lena, Madonna and Maitland (junior), plus six grandchildren.