In 1953, Peter Mooney, an adventurous young Irishman and newly qualified advocate — the Scottish equivalent of a barrister — decided to forsake the stately precincts of Parliament House and the Advocates Library in the historic city of Edinburgh and accept the position of Crown Counsel, Sarawak in far-off Borneo. All thoughts of returning to the elegant world of Edinburgh were soon forgotten, however, as he became immersed in Sarawak and its people. ‘I thought that I had come to civilize the people. It was they who civilized me.’
During his time in Sarawak, Peter faced numerous colourful characters in court, from indigenous warriors sporting feathered headdresses and leopard’s teeth earrings to the equally intimidating David Marshall and Lee Kuan Yew, lawyers who would become, respectively, the first Chief Minister and Prime Minister of Singapore. Peter confronted Iban killers, Soekarno lookalikes and an indignant slave owner demanding compensation for loss of services after Peter successfully prosecuted his slave for murder.
In this captivating memoir, Peter Mooney peppers his reminiscences with intriguing legal cases from Sarawak, which serve to illustrate interesting points of law as well as to capture historically important details of Sarawak’s indigenous people and colonial life at the time. A Servant of Sarawak is the fascinating memoir of a man who has dedicated his life to a land far from home.
About the author
Dato’ Dr Sir Peter Mooney is one of the most prominent legal figures in Malaysia and has held the following positions: Crown Counsel, Sarawak; Attorney General, Sarawak; Public Prosecutor, Sarawak; Founding partner of SKRINE; Vice-President of the Malaysian Bar; Chairman of the Legal Profession Committee of the Malaysian Bar; Chairman of the Complaints Committee of the Malaysian Bar.