Monday, 22 October 2012 02:30
By Rawlston Pompey
Every once in a while, during the course of human existence individuals may be seen as behaving in unique ways.
Even though having different philosophy and perspectives on life ; ...performing different functions, yet sharing similar ideals and core values relative to their chosen professions. Invariably these individuals may be observed exhibiting almost characteristic similarities displaying an air of ASSERTIVENESS.
Clearly several generations apart, Chief Magistrate JOANNE WALSH had demonstrated traits similar to that of two prominent public officials. Foremost was that of Senate President HAZELYN FRANCIS. Known for constantly delivering “…classroom-type instructions she had been ”chiding, guiding and counseling members, while missing no opportunity in asserting her “…Senatorial authority” on those guilty of parliamentary indiscretions or exhibiting errancy.REPUTABLE AGENCIES
RING THE BELL
In some respects, Chief Magistrate WALSH appeared to have emulated Her Excellency Governor General, Dame Louise Lake-Tack for mental toughness. The latter had demonstrated that as far as the “…ROYAL BELL” was concerned, no lesser subjects were to “…RING IT,” save and except through evidence of allegiance and due regard to the Monarchy and representative symbols. In her “…persona,” Chief Magistrate WALSH had shown that no matter how “…SEE VERE” the storm conditions; or how difficult the challenges may be having regard to the revelation by Attorney General JUSTIN SIMON that things seemed “…BROWN,” with or without warning, she had demonstrated that storms spontaneously triggered by nature or those induced by adversaries, she possesses the “…intellectual and navigational capacity” in weathering them, even with a smile.
Given current contentions over particular Court decisions delivered by Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh, prompting the “…professionally reasoned submissions and sound advice” by respective senior Legal Officers, Attorney General, Honourable JUSTIN SIMON and the unmatched prosecutorial skills and experiences of Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) ANTHONY ARMSTRONG, Law enforcement may wish to avoid circumvention of these offices for avenues, likely to bring theirs and/or other “…REPUTABLE NATIONAL AGENCIES” into “…disrepute.” INFORMED DECISION MINOR BREACHES
This may be seen from what may have been perceived to have been perverted decisions. However, research had shown authorities strengthening the seemingly “…informed decision” of Chief Magistrate JOANNE WALSH in the seemingly recently “…made to be” controversial decision affecting six Defendants for “…MINOR BREACHES” under the Public Order Act, Chapter 357. In their professional wisdom and judgment, they had certainly averted further official embarrassment on a matter no more significant than a case of “…Indecent Language.”BAD PUBLICITY
This appeared most unfortunate, since what seemed to be purely “…administrative issues may have been judiciously resolved without incurring “…BAD PUBLICITY” or even attracting the interventions of the two most Senior Legal officers of the State. Such, unfortunately, had been the impressions of many at this Website and in the wider community. Consequently, only sober thinking and sober decisions may help to “…mend bridges and buried hatchets,” lest further lawlessness pervades a society seemingly drowning in “…social decadence.”PROSECUTORIAL EXPERIENCES
Since she was elevated from Senior Crown Prosecutor to the enviable position in May 2011, Chief Magistrate JOANNE WALSH had brought many years of “…PROSECUTORIAL EXPERIENCES” and legal knowledge to the Magistracy. Like Judge JOE BROWNE, she had demonstrated a “…passion for justice; seeking to protect womanhood and promoting manhood.” She sought, and was seemingly able in establishing an authority, said by attorneys, litigants and other officers of the Court, not the least, the pragmatic, passionate and emboldened Commissioner VERE BROWNE, describing certain decisions to be “…unprecedented.”PIT OF SNAKES
Equally as much as humans complained of adverse weather conditions, similarly, when “…Court Decisions” were delivered, parties to the proceedings in which unfavourable decisions were obtained, had always felt they had reasons for expressing dissent. From experience, Law enforcement had been indoctrinated at recruit training, not to take “…decisions of the Court personally,” since in the process, its role was assisting in the “…administration of justice.” Some personnel, unfortunately had been known to have grumbled to the extent of being knowingly or unsuspectingly charmed into a destructive “…Pit of venomous Snakes” expressing concerns over the Court’s recent Decision.ORDERLINESS
Be that as it may, she had demonstrated very clearly that the Court was not an institution that harbors complacency and/or unprofessional behavior and that there was no room for sentimentality. Thus, conduct bordered or deemed-insubordinate, interruptive or otherwise, would not be countenanced and/or tolerated. Neither was it a place for the “…tardy, inefficient and/or grossly incompetent officers of the Court. Such authority had seemingly induced almost complete “…ORDERLINESS”-enhanced mode of dress; …punctuality and behavior,” thereby lessening the duties of Police personnel assigned to service the Court and maintaining order. DELAYED JUSTICE-JUSTICE DENIED
Those familiar with certain judicial principles and/or doctrines, may know that where it may have been “…reasonably perceived that justice was delayed,” may also know that adjudicators had a discretion, in declaring it “…JUSTICE DENIED.” Consequently, irrespective of their “…Summary or Indictable nature, “…National Significance;” or purely academic or personal interest, some cases can be expected to “…TUMBLE.” Such had manifested itself as in the recent dismissal of the contentious “…Public Order cases. While the defendants left the Court in jubilation, seemingly overzealous and aggrieved parties proceeded to a “…Snake-infested Pit to be venomously stung.”ABUSE OF PROCESS/EFFECTS OF DELAY
The Law Lords looked at “…discretionary powers,” available and exercisable by Magistrates. Addressing to the “…EFFECTS OF DELAY,”[D 19.8] in the case of “…Brentford Justices, ex parte Wong [1981: QB 445], Justice Donaldson’s dicta was “…Even where proceedings were commenced within time, a Magistrates’ Court has a discretion to “…REFUSE” to try an information and acquit an accused without trial if there has been “…DELAY” amounting to “…AN ABUSE OF THE PROCESS” of the Court. In that particular case, the trial Judge had erroneously taken it upon himself, harbored or entertained thoughts that he had “…no discretion” in refusing to try the case at Bar. Said Justice Donaldson “…The Justices erred in holding that they simply had no discretion to refuse to try an information ‘…Laid’ within the time.” Further supported by the case “…Fairford Justices, ex parte Brewster [1976: QB 600: P449G], Lord Widgery CJ opined “…Where ‘DELAY’ is of such an order as to cause in justice to refuse to CARRY ON with the hearing, the DELAY is a matter which goes to jurisdiction…the jurisdiction of Justices.” This principle, if applied, may have implications for similar situations within this jurisdiction, but also consequences to society.POWER OF MAGISTRATES
But while critics may have been pondering over the Decision of Chief Magistrate JOANNE WALSH, research has shown several cases on point. These include “…Willsden Justices, ex parte Clemmings [1987: CR Appeal: R380], in which Justice Bingham qualified the “…POWER OF MAGISTRATES” to “…STOP” a prosecution when it arises from “…An Abuse of the Process of the Court.” Thus, the Practice Directions laid down were (a) “…The Prosecution have ‘Manipulated or Misused the process of the Court, so as to deprive the accused of a ‘…protection’ by law or take ‘…unfair advantage’ of a technicality; or (b) “….On a balance of probability, the accused has been or would be ‘…prejudiced’ in the preparation or conduct of his defence by ‘DELAY’ on the part of the Prosecution which was unjustifiable.”DISCRETION
It was stated at [D19.8: P1563], “…The principles applied in exercising the ‘DISCRETION’ are similar to those governing Committal Proceedings when there has been delay (as to which, see especially Grays Justices ex parte, Graham 1982: QB 1239: and D7.5).” Frequently, it was said that “…Fools rushed in where angels fear.” Frequently, too, some purported to have been highly educated were seen to have knowingly “…flirted with danger.” Invariably, people were lead down a “…slippery slope to destruction” over what had often been described as “…egoism and/or trivialities.”FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES
Thus, outside of those who may be categorized as “…Lay person-” the legally trained minds, shall display familiarity with the procedures of the Courts and the conduct of proceedings. They should know that some Decisions may be determined on “…MERIT” after full trial and presentations of the cases for both, the Prosecution and Defence. They shall also “…know; …should know or …deemed to know that some cases may be disposed of on “…FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES and/or DOCTRINES” applicable to the particular case. These matters, therefore, may affect “…Statute of Limitations; …Abuse of Process; …Inordinate delays and/or those affecting “…NATURAL JUSTICE.”STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
When British Law Lords speak to “…STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS,” they had posited that the General Rule was “…A Magistrates’ Court may not try a defendant for a ‘SUMMARY OFFENCE’ unless the information was laid within SIX MONTHS of the time when the offence was allegedly committed.” The Law Lords had further posited that “…The purpose of the six-month limitation on laying information for Summary offences was to ensure that Summary offences are charged and tried as SOON as reasonably possible, after their alleged commission.” RATIONALE
The “…RATIONALE” of Justice May was provided in the case “…Newcastle-upon-Tyne Justices ex parte John Bryce (Contractors) Ltd [1976: WLR: 517: Blackstone’s Justice Manual 2004: D19.7: P1562]. He said, “…So that the recollection of witnesses may still be reasonably clear; …that there shall be no UNNECESSARY DELAY by Magistrates’ Courts.” Not only were these provisions in the national law, but the “…RATIONALE” may also be applicable to offences not applicable to “…Statute of Limitations,” though had been filed within the “…Time Limit.” SNAKE PIT panelist FRANKLYN ‘Frankie’ Southwell may wish to build some hope on these principles, lest he ran afoul of his obligations, thereby incurring further wrath of Chief Magistrate JOANNE WALSH for “…ABSTENTION.” NATURAL JUSTICE
When the Law Lords speak to the Doctrine of “…NATURAL JUSTICE,” they were speaking to a “…Doctrine” that signifies a minimum standard of “…Fair-play; …Fair dealing and Fair treatment” under the Law and in the course of human interactions including employment. The fundamental principle, called “…Audi Alterem Partem (Latin), means the “…RIGHT TO BE HEARD.” Many had been sacked from their course of employment through managerial victimization. Many had simply been handed a letter of termination without according an opportunity to be heard. Courts have always ruled that such action was procedurally wrong.
LANDMARK RULINGS-JACKSON V PSC
In the eyes of superior Court Justices, such course of action amounts to injustice and an infringement on the “…Natural Right” of persons to challenge accusations and/or allegations for conduct that may or may not have exhibited, or things they may or may not have done. A classic case was that of “…Charles Ridge v George Baldwin [UK: AC 40:1964]. Like former expatriate Commissioner Gary Nelson, the Chief Constable was dismissed by the local Police Authority without being given an opportunity to be heard. In the House of Lords, the Court determined the case on “…Procedural Fairness” and ruled that the “…Dismissal was void and of no legal effect.” In the recent case “…Clifford Jackson v Police Service Commission (PSC), Justice THOMAS W. ASTAPHAN had ruled that his dismissal was “…Unfair- Unreasonable and Irrational” [ANUHCV 2010/487: Para 127].INVISIBLE LEGEND
Apart from a perceived toughness, Chief Magistrate JOANNE WALSH not only depicts femininity and captivating beauty, but also underlying qualities, suggesting a sensitive, deeply considerate and understanding person. In her judicial functions, those who had failed in discharging their fiduciary responsibilities to those “…incapable of providing for themselves,” had likened her “…decisions” as those influenced by the “…INVISIBLE LEGEND,” Parliamentarian Honourable ROBIN YEARWOOD had often been accused of disturbing with fumes emitted from his famous Cubana cigars. Finance Minister Honourable HAROLD LOVELL had stayed clear of suggestions that it may have been such fumes that may have forced a hotel developer into abandoning interest in the area. Such may have been judiciously considered, lest he had unwittingly spurred the “…Legend” to descend his wrath on those who had ventured too close to his “…Bridge.”SMOKY RITUALS
Many people had contended that the Member’s “…SMOKY-RITUALS” may have been the influential factor that saw what media reports described as the “…freeing of the ALP 6.” Consequently, this may have induced a passion in Senator Member Honourable PAUL ‘Chet’ GREENE, pre-empting calls that may affect the tenure of Commissioner VERE BROWNE. He had dug deeply “…Beneath the Surface” in ensuring that he was elevated to that position, seemingly helped in convincing Justice Minister Honourable Senator Dr. ERROL CORT that he was suitably qualified for the position. Be that as it may, the goodly Senator may quicker see Village strongman “…MEGATRON” showing up at “…YA- SOSO BAKERY,” on a”…green donkey braying “…He Ha, He Ha, Ah want bun and buttah.” There may be a storm brewing and this was said to be closely monitored.IMPENDING STORMS
Citizens know that when unfavourable weather conditions suggested the imminence of dangerous storms, former Director of Meteorology, PHILBERT MASON, had wasted no time in alerting and/or sensitizing citizens and residents of “…threatening catastrophic possibilities.” Consequently, citizens were glued to their radios and televisions, seeking to hear what was about to cause disruption in their lives. Frequently, sensitization was either that of possible “…lightning and thunder storms; …heavy deluge; …flooding; …landslides; …ferocious winds; …high seas and associated dangers that may have serious, tragic or fatal consequences. As a consequence, in attempting to avert loss of limb or life and minimizing damage, citizens were not only warned, but were encouraged to take precautionary and/or “…preventive measures” for their personal safety and protection.NATURE’S IMPENDING WRATH
Many fearing these “…uncontrollable destructive elements,” would look anxiously to the skies for looming evidence of “…NATURE’S IMPENDING WRATH.” Invariably, the sun would have disappeared into obscurity; …the skies became grey, while ominous dark clouds hovered over the nation. Suddenly, streaks of lightening pierced the grey skies and dark clouds, bringing not “…Hope of earth and Joy of heaven,” but loud rumbling frightening thunderous sounds, crackling off into the distance. Then, almost instantaneously, there was the shaking of the earth, buildings and fixtures. Panic-stricken citizens with gnashing teeth remained steadfast- some praying silently for safe passage; …while terror-stricken dogs got into a howling frenzy consistent with the eerie sounds of horror movies. Then infants, innocent of impending disaster, snugly tucked into their mother’s arms, crying for their formula.THUNDEROUS SOUNDS
Every moving creature became awakened; and cowed into submissive quietude, standing still as the eerie, loud “…THUNDEROUS SOUNDS;” …racked the hearts of the feint-hearted. And while there were several places for shelter, there was not a single room to hide from nature’s ferocious elements. Then the rains tumbled; …drenching everything beneath; …flooding dwellings; …submerging fields and crops; …roadways; …washing away those caught unexpectedly in the open; in motor vehicles and caravans; along with helpless animals, birds and insects.”NO HIDING PLACE
In a world full of “…devious men; …trickery and treachery,” there was “…no hiding place up here,” since many had been constantly endeavouring to escape from the “…forces of darkness and evil.” Thus, since “…man-to- man was so unjust” [Mighty Swallow], with no place to hide, the elements had descended upon “…the crooked and the wicked” with devastating consequences. There may not even be any elsewhere, as former Assistant Commissioner of Police CARDINAL KING had suggested. Moved by inspiration, he had inspired hundreds witnessing the final funeral rites, as they paid “…posthumous homage” to a former fallen colleague-W/Sergeant PAMELLA FARRELL.” Some sang and spoke sincerely, others with share hypocrisy. Nonetheless, they all sang in unison, “…There is no hiding place down there.” For Chief Magistrate, there was no hiding from the media following her decision and what Commissioner of Police VERE BROWNE, CPA, ASc. LLB (Hons), LLB (Hons) LPC, had described as “…an unprecedented decision.”ELECTRIFYING DIFFERENCE
Though not the same as conditions produced in inclement weather, within the Magistracy, Chief Magistrate JOANNE WALSH seemed to have possessed the capacity of producing “…atmospheric-like conditions” that was as electrifying as that generated by the Antigua Power Company (APC). The difference, however, was that such electricity was to be experienced only by those in close proximity of the Bench, flowing from her “…mouth and pens” in decisions, seemed to have infuriated Law enforcement. Thus, recent “…Decisions” of the Chief Magistrate appeared to have had telling effects, likened to the Power Company’s reported “…threats in pulling the plug” for “…unserviceable debts” by APUA. This was in spite of bills said to be giving consumers-“…current and delinquent,” daily horrors, not only in frequent suppressions, but also their inability in settling mounting utility bills. Conversely, those who had found themselves in default or disobeying Court Orders, the Chief Magistrate “…knows just when to pull their plugs.”STREAKS OF LIGHTENING
Rightly or wrongly, the Chief Magistrate may have been seen as the “…STREAKS OF LIGHTNING,” piercing the grey skies and darkened clouds. For within the Court room, when the “…streaks” became visible, it seemed to have had the effect of inducing fear in those standing in the “…defendant/witness boxes or at the Bar table, and extended to those sitting far away from the precinct of the Court. She had seen the Court as her domain and that of the public, duly seeking redress for “…civil and/or criminal wrongs” perpetrated against innocent and vulnerable victims and society as a whole. She commanded respect, whether voluntarily or coerced through harbored feelings of timidity. Thus, her presence had induced not only their undivided attention, but also their respect and obedience to the orders of the Court.EXEMPLARY CONDUCT
Hence, Officers of the Court-Staff and Clerks, Law enforcement personnel, Attorneys, Plaintiffs/Defendants/Witnesses and Sureties, know that inter alia, part of their responsibilities was to accord due respect. That may be exemplified through their “…punctuality; …professionalism …decorum; …obedience and…cooperation,” within the precinct of, and at all material times, in the presence of the Court. This would lessen the need for applying Section 242 of the Magistrate’s Code of Procedure Act, Chapter 255, Laws of Antigua and Barbuda, for disruptive audible whispers and annoying cellular ring tones.KEEP OUT OF HERE
Therefore, on the Bench, her forte was the “…EXPEDITIOUS DISPOSAL” of cases. She had determined that the administration and dispensation of justice should be timely. Thus, for all intents and purposes, those who had complained, and as world renowned social Commentator Slinger Francisco, “Mighty Sparrow” sang “…If you don’t like it get to hell out ah here.” Chief Magistrate JOANNE WALSH may probably say, “…If you don’t like my philosophical way of adjudication or my decisions, then, “…KEEP OUT OF HERE.”PUBLIC RANTINGS
Such virtues were requisite in protecting the “… image, integrity and reputation” of the Court; …its adjudicators and officers; …its proceedings, as well enhancing its efficiency, administrative functions, thereby facilitating the adjudicating process.” The Court knows that irrespective of judicial findings and/or decisions, “…litigants; …prosecutors, attorneys, defendants” and others with vested interest, were likely to grumble over rulings considered contentious and/or unfavourable. Such has been human nature. The Court also knows that there may be instances when aggrieved parties may display evidence, suggestive of “…harboring ill-conceived thoughts, thereby provoking furious “…PUBLIC RANTINGS.”ACUTE CONSIDERATION
Therefore, as optimistic as parties to civil or prosecutorial proceedings may be, whether- Plaintiffs and Defendants in “…Civil jurisdiction” or Defendants and Accused in “…Summary and Criminal jurisdiction,” they shall know that the Court’s functions involved giving only “…ACUTE” CONSIDERATION” to matters, even as contentious as they may be, and to be determination by the Bench. These, however, were to be contingent upon “…indisputable or irrefutable evidence” or “…untainted, reliable and proven …FACTS” to applicable Law.CONCLUSION
The principle of NATURAL JUSTICE also affects “…Civil Cases.” Thus, this was said to be a tort when “…MALICIOUSLY and in the absence of reasonable cause, to make use of a legal process against the Plaintiff (other than the institution of proceedings against him including the mere swearing of FALSE EVIDENCE,” as a result of which the Plaintiff suffers damage.” A leading authority on this principle was “…Hargreaves v Bretherton [Tort: C.D. Baker: 1958: P292]. May the Case “…Rest in Peace,” thereby affording more time for the expedition of more serious cases and addressing more serious issues affecting the society at large, particularly the daily terror being waged on defenceless citizens including Education and Gender Affairs Minister Honourable JACQUI QUINN-LEANDRO who had been recently victimized.