City mourns for prominent lawyer who dies in car crash

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — The city of Montego Bay was yesterday plunged into shock and mourning after news broke that George Thomas, the 68-year-old president of the Cornwall Bar Association, succumbed to injuries sustained in a two-vehicle crash along the resort city’s Elegant Corridor.

The deadly crash, which involved Thomas’s Mercedes Benz and a Nissan Tiida motor car, reportedly occurred at about 1:45 pm yesterday at the traffic lights at the Providence Heights/ Whitehouse intersection.

Thomas’s vehicle was reportedly being driven by his son Maurice and was travelling in the direction of Montego Bay when the accident occurred.

The elder Thomas was pronounced dead at hospital, while his son has been admitted in serious condition.

Three people who were travelling in the Nissan motor car remained in hospital last night nursing injuries.

Following the accident, a large number of curious onlookers, as well as members of the legal fraternity, gathered at the scene of the fatal crash.

For many, the sight of the mangled wreck was too much to bear.

“It’s a very sad day. Another life has been lost on the Elegant Corridor,” said attorney and former president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Nathan Robb, on hearing the news that Thomas had succumbed to his injuries.

“He (Thomas) was a dear friend; we studied together in England and he was very good at his craft,” added Robb, fighting back tears while at the scene of the crash.

Thomas, who operated his legal practice on a section of Orange Street in Montego Bay for several decades, was earlier this year appointed president of the influential Cornwall Bar Association.

Almost five years ago, he received the nation’s sixth highest honour — the Order of Distinction (OD) — for outstanding service to the legal profession and the community at large.

A past student of the Cornwall College, where his athletic prowess earned him a scholarship to study in Michigan, he read for a bachelor’s degree in history and political sciences and a master’s degree in social studies.

He then went to England to study law were he qualified as a barrister at the Inner Temple Inn of Court in 1978. He was subsequently called to the Jamaican bar in 1983. The Jamaican leg of his legal career as deputy clerk at the Trelawny Resident Magistrate’s Court, where his career was largely influenced by Justice Kay Beckford, the then clerk of that court. Since then, he has featured in several high-profile cases, including the 2009 trial of Stephen Fray, who was later convicted for holding up a CanJet Flight 918, months earlier.

Late yesterday, David ‘Bamby’ Marzouca, one of Thomas’s many friends and prominent Montego Bay businessman, said he was saddened by the untimely passing of his “dear friend”.

“George is my personal friend from school days. I have just received the news of his passing and I am in total shock. Total shock, total shock; I don’t even know where I am now. He is like a brother to me,” said a seemingly devastated Marzouca.

According to Marzouca, Thomas was on his way from court in St Mary when the accident occurred.

“He went to attend a court case in St Mary and was on his way back. He was going to have lunch at Whitehouse when the car allegedly hit him. In fact, I was supposed to have gone with him to St Mary,” he remarked.

Thomas is the father of three children, Martyn, also an attorney, Melissa and Maurice.

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