Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (23 September) . . Page.. 3571 ..
MR STEFANIAK (continuing):
John McCrory had an exceptional career. He enlisted in the British Army as a young lad aged about 16 or 17. In 1936, he served as a 17-year-old on the north-west frontier of India around the Gilgit area and fought Pathens before World War II. In those days, that was the edge of the perimeter of the British Raj and the British empire in India. He then served in the Middle East, where he copped quite a few wounds from shrapnel, which plagued him in later life. I remember that, when he was boss of DCS and the Crown Prosecutor, when I started there.
He then served in Burma and finished his time in the army in Hong Kong, where he was a magistrate. After John was demobilised from the British Army in 1967, he and his wife, affectionately known as the duchess, moved from Hong Kong to Canberra. He became the Crown Prosecutor in Canberra in the late 1970s-until his retirement in 1982.
John McCrory was a number of things. He was a very fine soldier and a great character. It was sad that there were not so many people at his funeral. That is often the case when one dies at quite an old age. It was good to see a number of his former legal colleagues there, including half of the ACT Magistrates Court bench. He had assisted many of those people and, in certain instances, helped to train them, including the current Chief Magistrate, Ron Cahill. An interesting fact is that John missed out on the job as magistrate. His junior, Ron Cahill, got it in 1977.
I recall John very fondly. An interesting character, he was built a bit like a cross between a bulldog and a walrus. He had a flowing white moustache and spoke with a Scottish accent. He called nearly everyone "laddie"-and his secretary was referred to as "lassie".
John was old-fashioned in many ways. He had a wonderful and rather wicked sense of humour. He was a very good lawyer, although probably not so much with a legal argument in court-that was not his forte. He was what we in the fraternity call a facts man.
This man had a lovely style about him. When he appeared in court before a judge and jury, being the old monarchist that he was, he would announce, "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I appear on behalf of her Majesty the Queen, who has commissioned me to bring this case to you."It was almost as if the Queen had rung him up the night before and asked him to pursue a case in her Supreme Court!
John McCrory was also a lover of cricket analogies. As a young prosecutor instructing him, I found that he would often tell his witnesses, such as senior police officers, exactly where they would be in what he called the batting order. I recall things he said to now very senior policemen.
One day, he said to ex-policeman, Rick Ninnis, "Righto, Ninnis-you're number three. You're going to keep a straight bat, laddie. We've got a few bumpy ones from the defence. I just want you to play a steady wicket."Then he would say, "Righto, McQuillan! You'll be batting at number five. Put a bit of flair in your evidence, laddie. I think you can have a few swipes. Go for a few boundaries and knock them about a bit!"