The administration of justice in Barbados has all but ground to a halt as the country waits for the roadblock which prevents Marston Gibson from taking up the position of Chief Justice of Barbados to be cleared. The Prime Minister and Attorney General are both lawyers and are aware of the issues which currently plague our system of justice. They obviously wouldn’t dare admit it publicly but they know.
One of the problems of several which lawyers of late have been concerned about is the audio recording at the Supreme Court. It seems incredible but there you have it. It appears that the recording equipment is set to such a sensitive level that it even picks up whispered consultations between counsel on the same side and between counsel and clients.
Even for those who are not trained in law you would have gleaned from Perry Mason or Matlock that disclosures between lawyer and client is governed by the legal concept of attorney-client privilege. To add to this betrayal of confidentiality the exchanges are then made a part of the court transcript. This is happening in the palatial environs of the Judicial Centre in Whitepark.
Could it be that for some warped reason, someone positioned in the hierarchy of the judicature thought that eavesdropping on the private consultations of counsel and clients would in some way assist them to render some backwoods version of justice? So, for instance if someone whispered to someone else, “I parked-out with so and so last night up pon Dover Beach,” this becomes a part of the transcript of the case.
While some may feel this is a trivial complaint by the lawyers in the context of a judicature which has been functioning under a lameduck arrangement for over a year, it is endemic of what ails our system of justice.