Trinidad’s former deputy chief state solicitor general, Neil Byam, collapsed and died on Friday while addressing the Court of Appeal.
“We can confirm that there was a medical incident involving an attorney in court today,” the Judiciary said.
Byam, said to be in his 60s, was before Court of Appeal judges Allan Mendonca, Prakash Moosai and Gillian Lucky, shortly before 11am (local time) when he collapsed and had to be assisted by Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes who helped lower him to the floor where attempts were made unsuccessfully to resuscitate him.
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Former attorney general, Faris Al-Rawi, speaking in the Parliament, confirmed Byam’s death, telling legislators he was a public servant of note.
“Mr. Neil Byam collapsed and passed away literally in the Court of Appeal today and permit me Madam Speaker having worked with Mr. Byam for many years in my capacity as Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs and years prior to offer the deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.
“Surely today, he did not wake up with the intention of leaving us that soon. May the Lord, God rest his soul in eternal peace and may the Lord have mercy on him. Dear Lord we pray for that,” Al Rawi added.
Byam retired from the public service on July 2, 2021. In a post on social media, attorney Nafeesa Mohammed, wrote “I am now being informed that one of our colleagues who worked for decades as a State Counsel in the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs just collapsed and returned to Allah”.
“I worked with Neil in the early days of his career. I pray that he rests in peace,” she added.
Another attorney and opposition legislator, Jayanti Lutchmedial said he felt a sense of deep sadness.
“I met “Byam” as we all called him, when I was an in-service trainee at the Ministry in 2005. He was pleasant, quirky and really smart. In later years as we appeared on opposite sides he was always very respectful, forthright and straightforward with the Court and opposing Counsel, upholding the traditions of the Bar,” Lutchmdial wrote, adding “I am very sorry for his family’s loss and I pray his soul RIP.”