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GG swears in five acting judges

Tuesday, April 15, 2014    

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FIVE judges were yesterday sworn to the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court by Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen, at a ceremony held at King's House.

The judges are: Carol Lawrence Beswick and Ingrid Mangatal, who will act as judges of appeal; Audre Lindo and Marcia Dunbar Green who will act as puisine judges of the Supreme Court; and Rosemarie Harris, who will act as master-in-chambers in the Supreme Court.

In her remarks, Chief Justice Zaila McCalla reminded the judges that, while they are independent in the performance of their judicial duty, they are accountable to the public they have sworn to serve.

"All judicial officers should be cognisant that we operate in an atmosphere where judicial decisions are subject to much scrutiny in the media. We must, therefore, perform in a manner that is transparent and fair," Justice McCalla said.

She also noted that, while there are certain circumstances where the law does not require judges to give reasons for decisions taken, in the interest of justice and good practice the decision should be taken to do so.

"It may be prudent to exercise our judicial expression in such matters and give reasons for our decisions, especially where the matters are of public interest and the subject of discussions in the public domain," she stated.

The governor general, meanwhile, said that every effort should be made, whether through case management, the exercise of earned authority, or the authority of the office to dispense with cases in a timely manner, even under trying circumstances.

He added that the appointment of the judges speaks well to the quality of service given. "These acting appointments are testimony to [the] your consistently high standards of professionalism that you have shown," Sir Patrick said.

President of the Court of Appeal Justice Seymour Panton also congratulated the judges on their acting appointments.

"I want to suggest to you that you constantly bear in mind the oaths you have taken," Justice Panton said. He also called on lawyers to desist from giving interviews to the media in respect of cases that are ongoing. "The practice continues, and it is time for the General Legal Council to do something about it," Justice Panton said.

In her response, on behalf of the judges, Justice Carol Lawrence Beswick noted that the judges were mindful of the responsibilities they bear to dispense justice in a timely manner.

"We are very much aware of the challenges that face us. The howls for justice are loud. People are now regularly pronouncing their own understanding of justice and what they believe are the appropriate verdicts and sentences in trials. It is in such a society which we work, and we appreciate that it is important to deliver justice in a manner which can be understood by the man in the street," she said.

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