The 20th Death Anniversary of S.D.Percy Valentine, President’s Counsel, falls on 08th October.
Valentine hailed from a distinguished family and was the eldest son of late S.D.R. Valentine (Proctor) and of late Flora Valentine of Weligampitiya, Ja-Ela. He had his education at De Mazenod College, Kandana, a well known Catholic Private School managed by the Christian Brothers.
Thereafter, he entered the Faculty of Law of the University of Ceylon and obtained his degree. Having passed out as an Advocate in 1961, he served his apprenticeship period in the Chambers of the late A.H.C.De Silva, a Queen’s Counsel.
Although Criminal Law was his forte, he also practiced in the other fields such as Civil and Industrial Law, in the Original and the Appellate Courts. His mastery of facts of a case, his fluency and felicity of diction and his skillful cross-examination made him a much sought after lawyer in most parts of the country. In recognition of his professional eminence, he was appointed a President’s Counsel in 1991. Valentine always maintained the highest traditions of the Bar. Judges and members of the profession always had the highest respect and regard for him.
I had the rare privilege of serving my period of apprenticeship under him and subsequently served as a junior. He was my guru and was a great source of inspiration to me. I am ever grateful to him for the knowledge, experience, guidance and the training I received whilst working under him.
There are a large number of lawyers who have served their period of apprenticeship under Valentine. The present Chief Justice His Lordship Priyasath Dep P.C. also served as an apprentice and junior under him.
His interest wasn’t confined to the practice of law. He was once a Vice President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka and a member of the Bar Council for many years. He was also a member of the Professional Purposes Committee of the BASL. He took a great interest in the Continuing Legal Education Programme of the BASL. He was a past President of the Medico-Legal Society of Negombo and also the Lions Club of Kandana Ja-Ela. He was also closely associated with the activities of his school.
Valentine was a devout catholic and organized the traditional Red Mass for Catholic lawyers for several years. He was essentially a family man and was a loving husband to his wife Sita and a devoted father to his two sons Varuna and Indrajith. He lived to see both his sons enter the legal profession, which was a sense of great joy and satisfaction to him.
Valentine was a great host. He took pleasure in entertaining his friends and family members at his home.
It is said that greatness is never measured by birth, wealth or fame, nor by the worth of one’s material possessions, but those in whose hearts you live. Valentine was a good example of this.
May his soul rest in peace.