Tributes flow for 'Sticky' Glue

Mervyn "Sticky" Glue on his retirement in 2006.
Mervyn "Sticky" Glue on his retirement in 2006.

Raconteur, actor, and a criminal lawyer Mervyn "Sticky" Glue was remembered today with a special memorial court sitting where High Court and District Court judges lined up side-by-side.

Justice Graham Panckhurst said it was probably the first time that judges had sat together in this way, as the session began beneath the ornate woodwork of Christchurch's No 1 High Court.

The court had four High Court Justices on the bench, six sitting or retired district court judges, a line-up of QCs, practising lawyers, retired judges, family, friends and media in the body of the court to mark the passing of a lawyer who was seen as "never tricky or sly".

Mervyn James Glue died recently after a long illness, aged 88.

He had retired at the age of 80, an event marked in 2006 with a special, surprise sitting of the district court where Justice Panckhurst said he had become something of a fixture, "both plying his trade and doing his crossword".

Retired district court Judge Stephen Erber said Mr Glue had died "after a life of strenuous exertion in the fields of education, criminal law, theatre, and matrimony."

He had a simple, persuasive eloquence and "a conviction at least in his client’s absolute right to have a fair go".

Judge Erber said: "His submissions were rarely lengthy, often witty and perceptive, always to the point, and their sincerity was rarely marred by studied ornament."

He was never tricky or sly, he said.

Fellow lawyer Gerald Lascelles had met Glue through their activities in the theatre. He found him "an ebullient spirit and perceptive intelligence" who showed tolerance and an unfailing geniality.

He told of receiving advice from the much-married Mervyn Glue that "one should keep one’s eyes open before marriage and half-shut afterwards".

He had played many roles in the theatre including, Dylan Thomas and King Lear, but he had a healthy, uncomplicated approach to acting. "He was really not a directable actor," Lascelles said.

Lawyer Michael Knowles said Glue had sometimes taken on hopeless cases for little or no financial reward, going about his task with "skilled use of oratory laced with literary allusion".

He told of one murder trial where Glue had got his client acquitted, and his cross-examination of the detective in the case had been described by the judge as a textbook example of its kind.

Knowles said: “A great exponent of the oral tradition of the criminal bar has left us.”

The Press