By CHARLES MOI
Alexander Davani described his mum, the late Justice Catherine Davani, as a fighter who bravely battled cancer privately with her family by her side.
Alexander, who spoke on behalf of his father John and brothers Reginald, Peter and Cecil at her funeral service at St Joseph Catholic Church in Port Moresby yesterday, said the judge was a very private person.
“The battle with cancer, she did almost with solace although she had close family around. She was a very private person,” Alex said.
Justice Davani was born on June 3, 1960 in the small town of Wau in Bulolo, Morobe. Her father John Kodana was a policeman and her mother Jacinta cared for her and her five other siblings at home.
It was in Wau that Justice Davani learnt how to speak in English. According to Alex in his eulogy, speaking English was not common back in those days.
In 1971, the young Kodana family moved to Lae and a year later the family moved to Rabaul in East New Britain. Justice Davani attended Sacred Heart School there.
She graduated onto Rabaul High and began to quickly establish herself as a leader in her chosen fields. She played just about every sport on offer, including soccer and hockey, and appeared regularly in school magazines.
In 1974, the family moved to Port Moresby but the young Davani stayed behind to complete her Grade 10 at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in New Ireland.
“What many people don’t know is that mom was a terrible traveller,” Alexi said.
“She hates travelling long distances, especially in vehicles and on boats.”
After completing Grade 10 in 1975, she was accepted by Kerevat National High School to complete Grade 11 and 12. She continued her academic and sporting activities there.
She met some great friends, including University of PNG Registrar Jennifer Popat. In 1978, she attended UPNG to study law.
Justice Davani met her husband John Davani, from Sinapa village, Collingwood Bay in Northern, at the university.
She graduated with her law degree in 1982 and completed LTI studies in 1984. In 1987, she moved with her young family to Sydney and graduated a year later from the University of Sydney with a Masters.
She started off her law career with the Public Solicitors Office before moving to work in some of the country’s largest law firms including Gadens and Sheppard Lawyers.
Alex said his mother covered a variety of areas including family law, commercial law and judicial reviews.
“By the time she was appointed judge in March 2001, she was a well-versed and experienced lawyer. One thing that cannot be disputed was mom’s work ethic. She was disciplined and she was committed.”
By CHARLES MOI