It is the General Duty for the judiciary to give reasons for a court decision

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The desirability of having a general duty to give reasons for court decisions has been much debated in Commonwealth jurisdictions. In England, a series of cases has consistently upheld the duty.

The existence of this general duty is defensible in principle. The duty must meet the purposes for which it is imposed and at the same time must not be too unrealistic in its demands.

Court of Appeal (Lord Justice Henry, Lord Justice Laws and Mr Justice Hidden) 18 February 1999

THE COURT of Appeal gave guidance on the general duty of a professional judge to give reasons for his decision.

Lord Justice Henry said that the general duty of a professional judge to give reasons was clear: see R v Knightsbridge Crown Court, ex p International Sporting Club [1982] QB 304.

The duty to give reasons was a function of due process, and therefore of justice. Fairness required that the parties, especially the losing party, should be left in no doubt why they had won or lost, otherwise the losing party would not know whether the court had misdirected itself, and thus whether he might have an appeal available on the substance of the case. A want of reasons might, therefore, be a good self- standing ground of appeal. Further, a requirement to give reasons concentrated the mind: if it were fulfilled, the resulting decision was much more likely to be soundly based on the evidence than if it were not.

So where does that leave the advice of Dr Ralph E Gonsalves [REG] in saying about the Yugge Farrell court matter that the Magistrate can have information and need not divulge that to the court?

But I believe if the decision is affected by that information then it would appear on the surface that was quite simply an untrue statement by REG. Because REG claims to be a legal expert and had given publicly supposed expert advice, he should have known that reasons for judgments or orders cannot simply be withheld.

If REG as a self acclaimed expert did not know that, then he is most certainly not an expert, or some may believe he is quite simply a purveyor of mistruth.

It really is not good enough that the Prime Minister Dr Ralph E Gonsalves, who is also the government Minister of Legal Affairs, should continue to make various statements about legal affairs which turn out to be at the very least misinformation.

If he cannot behave himself or prove himself an expert in such simple legal matters he should step down and appoint someone with a little more intelligence and legal training on such matters.

The House of Lords in R v H & C made it clear that disclosure is one of the most important issues in the justice system and the application of proper and fair disclosure is a vital component of a fair justice system.

The “golden rule” is that fairness requires full disclosure should be made of all material held by the prosecution even if that weakens its case or strengthens that of the defense.


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