Senior Magistrate Defends His Peers

Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett :Photo credit Searchlight

By:  St. Clair Charles

While persons who have matters pending before the Magistrate Courts in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are complaining that the justice system is too slow,  the Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett is of the view that the Magistrates should not be held accountable. 

He made this point on Monday June 11th, while presiding at the Kingstown Magistrate Court when a matter came up before him and he was told that the Defense Counsel was unable to attend Courts because he/she was in another Court,  and as a result he was forced to adjourn the matter to a later date.

The same sentiment was shared by Crown Counsel Kareem Nelson who is attached to the Office of the DPP when a Preliminary Inquiry on a murder related charge came up before Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne earlier the same day which was scheduled to begin was halted.

 Magistrate Browne said that the Lawyer had sent a letter requesting an adjourning stating that she was in the High Court dealing with a criminal matter and had requested an adjournment.

 As a result, Nelson objected to the Court to have the adjournment and pointed out that when he was in law school several years ago, students were then informed that when they have matters before the Court and they cannot attend proceeding they should have another Lawyer deal with the matter to have disposed of. 

He also stated that the key witness in the case was a minor and he was present in Court to give evidence and that her father who works on one of the Grenadines Island took time off to be present in Court. 

The objection was upheld and the Preliminary Investigation commenced in the Lawyer’s absent to accommodate the key witness. 

The matter was then adjourned to a later date.