The following extracted from the Sunday Sun September 23, 2012:
“A High Court is being asked to block the appointment of a Crown Counsel in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). In an unprecedented legal development, attorney at law Elwood Watts, who acted as Crown Counsel in the DPP’s office for the past six years, is seeking an injunction against the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, chaired by Chief Justice Marston Gibson and includes Appeal Court Justice Sandra Mason and High Court Justice Maureen Crane-Scott.
Attorney at law Alison Burke, who was recently admitted to the Bar, was to take up the permanent appointment as Crown Counsel effective September 1. But in his court filings challenging the decision of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission to ratify Burke’s appointment, Watts has complained that the position of Crown Counsel was never advertised as required by law. As a result, the former police sergeant who has been on secondment to the DPP’s office, said he never had a chance to secure the appointment.
Reports indicated that Burke, who was attached to the Ministry of Health as a staff nurse prior to her appointment, never had any experience in court proceedings. A date is to be set for hearing of the injunction.”
As is often the case, the half baked report deposited into the public space by the Nation newspaper has generated several questions in the BU household, questions which a little probing by a rookie journalist should have felt obligated to ask the relevant parties and laid bare for an unenlightened public.
Is this a junior or a senior position? The way the Nation puts it, it sounds like a senior position, but is it? Would it have required Holmes-like ability to have informed the public to enable it to ‘adjudge’ the matter?
BU would be interested to know what are the conditions of such an appointment? Is it required that it be advertised? (Caswell?) How come the young lady could send in an application and was presumably interviewed and appointed – and the person acting, not know and do the same?
What modicum of legal knowledge is available to BU suggests that this is a matter of public interest and therefore the Nation newspaper does not have the usual escape route available to it by howling SUB JUDICE.
If we were to generously critique the report, it seems unbalanced and reflects an investigation of one side only. The newspaper appears not to have asked any questions of the DPP et al, including CJ Gibson. All questions which a worthy Fourth Estate should have felt entitled to ask in the circumstances. BU can speculate why from reading between the lines Elwood Watts feels he is entitled to the job.
BU and many others, except the so called Fourth Estate, have remarked critically MANY times on the delays coming from the DPP and how people are left on remand for YEARS due to failure to prosecute in a timely manner. This is not only the fault of the courts, but also the DPP. BU and many others, except the so called Fourth Estate, have remarked critically MANY times on the delays coming from the DPP and how people are left on remand for YEARS due to failure to prosecute in a timely manner. This is not only the fault of the courts, but also, largely, of the DPP. Watts has been a part of that problem for 6 years. Unfortunately because of the lack of proper reporting by the Nation, we have to consider that he was passed over or not invited to apply because he was unsatisfactory as Barbados tries to upgrade its judicial system.
There is so much more which can be gleaned from the report but BU is only a blog so why bother.