Those who worked with respected Rotorua lawyer Harry Edward have described him as a "one-off".
Senior barrister Murray McKechnie called him a unique, gregarious character held in high regard by the profession.
He was one of many who talked of the empathy Edward had with juries and his ability to convince them to allow a good percentage of those he defended to walk free.
He was the life and joy of wherever he was ... he'll be annoyed I keep crying because that's not what he'd want.
"Many times he's secured a not guilty verdict when the evidence suggested that acquitting that person was unlikely, he was a dedicated courtroom lawyer who got good results."
Rotorua Crown solicitor Amanda Gordon agreed, saying Edward was someone she couldn't help but enjoy conducting trials with.
"His friendly and easy-going nature belied his natural talent. His way with people and ability to converse with anyone gave him his edge as a courtroom advocate.
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"His presence and charisma had a real impact with a jury (but not always a judge!) often against the weight of evidence. Even after a hard-fought trial, you knew when you walked out the door the battle was left in the courtroom."
To fellow legal advocates, he was known as "Harry the fox".
"If he saw a gap [in the evidence] he got through it – you'd think he's not going to do this but he did," said Moana Dorset, who frequently acted alongside Edward in joint trials.
"He was a big person in a small town."
Tim Braithwaite, who shared office space and defended clients with Edward said Rotorua and the criminal bar would not be the same without his mate.
"Harry was a truly good man, a great friend."
Edward engendered loyalty in his administrative staff; Raewyn Williamson and Maree Everiss had been on his team 20-plus years.
Williamson had fond memories of fun-filled work "dos". "We were kicked out of the Regent because Harry performed a haka shirtless ... he was the life and joy of wherever he was ... he'll be annoyed I keep crying because that's not what he'd want"
To Everiss, Edward was more than a boss – he was a true friend, family man and an "absolute true legend."
"After 22 years boy do I have some stories to tell ... the office will certainly be different without you, Harry ... no more dissecting the rugby played over the weekend, in fact, any sport on that weekend.
"Harry always had a [sporting] opinion and his was always the right one. Thank you for 22 years of fun, laughter, music, banter and friendship."