QC Showed Judge His Silk

Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Think Tank and Watchdog Group
Alair Shepherd QC

Alair Shepherd QC

The behaviour of a Queens Counsel toward a female judge, in Barbados, is another manifestation of the disrespect being displayed toward our women. According to published reports, the Queens Counsel demonstrated his displeasure with the judge by lifting his robe, backing the judge bending over and inviting her to kiss a part of his anatomy.

This single act reveals that disrespect for our women is now rampant at all social and educational levels. We will remain in the forefront of calling for our women to be respected but there is a bigger picture emerging here. Our Caribbean societies have always elevated some professions beyond godlike status. The medical and legal professions have been the chief beneficiaries of such adulation.

While we have had the occasional professional problems with our doctors, we suggest that such incidents have been for from widespread. We can therefore, with some objectivity, concur that the medical professional has maintained high professional standards. However we are aware that some will suggest that unprofessional conduct within the medical professional is not usually made public.

However, we have the legal professionals constantly escaping censorship for unprofessional behaviour. Sometimes they are given a slap on the risk or allowed to flee the country, leaving clients in financial shambles. It is essentially a group with entrenched support in the now powerful political managerial class. To put it bluntly, they are allowed to behave as if they are above the same legal system, they were trained to protect.

While we do not claim to be experts on the legal profession, we are aware that a Queens Counsel is considered to be a senior lawyer and have some professional privileges. We also understand that their fees reflect their professional elevation. We are therefore concerned that their needs to be better screening of those being elevated to the professional heights they enjoy.

While the Chief Justice may be expected to become involved in this sordid issue, we are uncertain of his reach. While we will expect him to at least comment, it will be folly to put pressure on him when this kind of professional vulgarity surfaces. We must bear in mind that this is more of a physical and personal assault on the judge than an outright legal question. We however believe that if a professional code of conduct has been seriously breached, that nothing short of censorship and the removal of Queens Counsel privileges are to be expected.

0 thoughts on “QC Showed Judge His Silk

  1. @Hants | April 14, 2013 at 2:53 PM | No, I am NOT agreed that it was an egregious act by Alair. I think it was highly improper (and very funny) that an old man like Alair would have the mooned ANYONE.

    IF (and only “if”) there was a functioning justice system in Barbados where the constitutional rights of Bajans was being upheld, instead of trampled on, by the justice system, I would then say it was and “egregious” act. However, given that there is NO justice system in Barbados and that the judges, far from upholding the Constitution, by their acts are undermining and denying the Constitution, all I can say is that Alair’s action was in bad taste – and no more. If the word “egregious” is to be used, it must apply to the justice system and its denial of the constitutional rights that it is sworn to uphold, not to a single act of bad taste.

    My understanding was that this act took place, not in the court itself or in the judge’s chambers, but in a corridor in what was an ex parte situation solely between Alair and the Sonja Richards. I do not know what caused it, but I undertake to endeavour to find out and report on my findings on BU. I would also point out that Alair is a queens counsel and, as such, a deputy judge and that too has to be factored into things. For, if the judge was in the corridor discussing an “inter partes” matter “ex parte” with Alair, then her action in so doing would have been highly improper. So, I want to know the facts of the disagreement. Which is why I have not commented here yet – because I do not know all the circumstances.

    I find that I cannot be reverent about a body (the judiciary) the vast majority of which is not doing its job well (if at all) and that is taking taxpayers’ money for nothing. In private enterprise, these people would be fired and AGM’s of shareholders would ensure they were fired. In a court situation, we the taxpayers/shareholders have to rely on the processes laid down in the Constitution, whereby the guidelines for the dismissal of judges from the CJ down, are clearly laid out, but remain unimplemented by those who act for the taxpayers/shareholders. Our AGM as taxpayers takes place every 5 years, unlike an AGM in a company which is required to be held not more than every 15 months.

    That said, the PM is in a very awkward position on this one. He must in not interfere in the judiciary, as it is a body independent of the executive. If he does, then he too will have breached the Constitution. That does not mean that he is totally without power if the denial of justice reaches a stage of emergency and I maintain that it has reached a state of crisis. And it is time for the PM to go to the GG. After all, the denial of justice has turned Barbados into the judicial laughing stock of the Caribbean and, indeed, the entire Commonwealth. It has also seriously prejudiced foreign investment and as a result, the lives and well-being of Bajans.

  2. Alair = deputy judge, according to amused………..waiting for when they make him judge Alair. no make that sir mu judge Alair……………bunch of jokers is what.

  3. I was, I admit, perhaps a little too hasty in my comment and for that I apologize to Amused and BU. But I do not believe that the state of the local justice system, however allegedly piteous, should provide any justification for Billinsgate behaviour by a senior member of the Bar to a High Court judge.We always say, ‘with the greatest respect”, even if we do not mean it!

  4. @Jeff. “Crap” works. If you think I am talking crap, then bloody well say so. I can assure you that I will say when I think that you are talking crap. That is the damned trouble with people not saying what they mean.

    I do not defer on this. I have said that Alair’s actions were, no matter the circumstances, tasteless and shocking. Without knowing the circumstances, given the lack of a justice system and the international odium in which was is trying to pass itself off fraudulently as a justice system (not allegedly, FACT) I am reluctant to rush to judgement. As so should you be, Jeff. If we were trying this as a criminal case, we would be asking the jury to consider mitigating factors and these would include, but not be limited to, the provocation given Alair by the judge. If this were a civil case as in negligence, we would be asked to consider contributory negligence. I mean, Jeff, you teach this stuff.

    So, Jeff, I think that you are losing the plot and jumping to judgement and I want to know what happened that a senior QC with extensive experience before the courts of the region and before the Privy Council and afterwards the CCJ, was so incensed by that judge/JUNIOR of limited (if any) actual practice. Please don’t give me that claptrap about respect for the office – the office has no credibility any longer and respect is a thing earned, not demanded and the respect the office earned through former judges has been totally erroded by this bunch of incompetents. And there is no “allegation” there, Jeff. The facts and abundant and proved.

    I rest.

  5. @Jeff. I have now looked into the facts surrounding the issue and it is my opinion that there was no contempt to or before the Court and, if the judge chooses to persue it, she will have to make a complaint to the Disciplinary Committee – but that is a situation fraught with danger for her. For, while not defending Alair Shepherd for his having waved his backside at her (which I think was wrong) I am content that the judge’s action constitute extreme provocation and a gross misconduct on her part which, if anyone has any balls, will cause Section 84 of the Constitution to be invoked against her. Disgraceful, ill-mannered, ill-bred conduct from a member of the Bench. Inexcusable.

  6. Did Alair have any recourse against provocation other than bending his back to the judge??…………this question was meant for you Amused.

  7. Sory Amused……….I just noted where you said “if anyone (ALAIR) had any balls would invoke Section 84 of the Constitution against her”…………..so why show case his balls if he could invoke disciplinary actions??

  8. @Amused
    Disgraceful,ill mannered and ill bred.I am sure a former Central Bank Governor would support your view.This woman was his demise because of her rude and belligerent attitude toward that office when she was employed there as legal counsel.Actually she engineered his exit through her political contacts local and regional.Trinis call it Panty Power!And they say women want more power and more rights.Laws in Barbados are stacked against men…

  9. Panty power…..hee, hee,……………….now if we can only find out the reason for the catfight which is starting to look more like it was of a personal nature……………….the authorities (not holding my breath) can find a way to rid the judiciary of both embarrassments.

  10. David Ellis has taken up the challenge and he currently has two lawyer on his talk show. Surprisingly they both agree that the court is in shambles.

  11. @David. Frankly, how can anyone DISAGREE? It is a MESS. It is crystal clear that, from the CJ down, the judges have no respect or consideration for members of the Bar. A lack of respect that has finally driven members of the Bar to reciprocate in kind – and about time too.

    The ire of Casewell (who, since birth and before has not had an original thought in his head) and that of his master was raised when Sleepy Smith spoke his mind at Lindsay Worrell’s funeral. Then, the ire of Caswell and his master was once again raised when certain licensed legal practitioners held the Act as a nullity ab initio that they could be forced by law to join the Bar Association. Now, a QC has objected to grave discourtesy shown him by a judge in a rather forthright manner – and she is “distressed”. But not distressed because of her arrant bad manners and lack of any kind of consideration. No, she is throwing a tantrum like a spoiled brat, because one of her seniors and betters has chosen to instruct her harshly – and about high time too. And Caswell, slavishly following the same master who got the judicial system into this mess in the first place, sees nothing wrong with the judge’s conduct, or rather lack of it.

    And in all of it, these jackasses on the bench, from the CJ down, don’t seem to realise that their conduct is no longer a secret and is being fully and repeatedly ventilated for the edification of the people who pay their damned salaries and perks. And the people are fed the hell up with this bunch of incompetent freeloaders. And it is high time that the CJ invoked section 84 of the Constitution and fired the deadwood – and if he will not do it, then the PM should invoke it and FIRE HIM!!!!

    Something has to be done, or we had best just get the maniac in North Korea to aim his rockets at us and blow the entire country to hell out of the water. And I am not over-stating this. These idiots on the Bench and the Registry are ruining the country. And it is time that the legislature did something serious about it.

    • Amused

      You are a liar and a fraud. I have also heard from people that were there. The judge recused herself and apparently that message got to most of the other lawyers and somehow Mr. Shepherd did not get the message? Out of courtesy, the Judge called the lawyers together to explain that the matter was not on her list and that she had previously recused herself. The Judge felt that she could not deal with the matter because of a conflict of interest. What more should she do: give one side grounds for appeal.

      Amused, you are on a witch-hunt and are prepared to sink to lying to make your case. For you though, it is rise to lying.

  12. Amused…….it takes more facial muscles to frown than to smile……..glad I could be of help. According to you there is a section 84 that can be invoked to trigger disciplinary actions for both parties………..so why did David Simmons keep insisting for so many decades that he could do nothing to discipline the criminal element in the judiciary??…………and why did successive Prime Ministers who you say also has such powers of removal, did not invoke such powers back then.???………….a stitch in time………..I hope they are all proud of themselves to see the place they have now helped the judiciary to arrive, CJs, PMs the whole side show.

  13. @Casewell. Really. My information is that it was before another judge, who had recused herself and because if that, it was allocated to Sonja Richards. I have no information that she also recused herself. And slice and dice it how you will, for her to roll into court three hours late is highly discourteous. And then to walk out on a senior silk because he dared make mention of this is a sure sign of advanced megalomania. You see, unlike you, Casewell, I see the court lists – and so do the judges (or they are sent to them, but I suspect they never bother to read them). And if Ms Richards had taken the time to read the lists, she would have seen that she was required in court at 09:30.

    You say, ” The judge recused herself and apparently that message got to most of the other lawyers and somehow Mr. Shepherd did not get the message?”

    I ask if the judge had recused herself, how come all counsel were present in court waiting for her to try the case?

    You say, “Out of courtesy, the Judge called the lawyers together to explain that the matter was not on her list and that she had previously recused herself.”

    So what are we talking about here? Did she call the other lawyers together for 09:30 to explain and then leave them cooling their heels for 3 hours until she deigned to turn up? OR, did she call them together to advise them that she had recused herself and ommitted to add Mr Shepherd to the list of those she advised?

    Also, are you aware that senior silks in Barbados charge an hourly rate of $750+? So, could you explain to me just how if can possibly, except in a fevered mind (for want of a better word) like yours, possibly be considered to be “a courtesy” to expense clients for lawyers fees running into the tens of thousands of dollars?

    And since the CoP was one of the parties to the case, along with a whole lot of police officers, guess who foots most of the bill for this “judge’s courtesy”? Cn anyone assist Casewell to find the answer to that question?

    • Amused

      You are deliberately distorting the facts. Check with the Judge’s clerk and you would learn that all the Judge’s matters were adjourned to 11:30 because she had informed everyone that she had an appointment. The matter was not down to be heard before her. Even so the lawyers wanted to see her and she courteously consented. AMUSED YOU ARE DELIBERATELY LYING. I do not know your motives but your credibility is now ZERO. It would appear that you have some personal dislike for this lady, and you are using BU for a personal vendetta.

      You have omitted all the information that would cast the Judge in a favourable light.

  14. More in the mortar than the pestle and all at taxpayers expense……..

    Amused……….calm down, take a deep breath and try to answer my questions., no pressure and if you can’t it’s okay…………..but from what you are saying this rot and decay in the judiciary has been ongoing for quite a few decades…………aided and abetted by successive CJs who had Section 84 too invoke and punish the criminal elements in the judiciary, and lied about having any powers to do such, all to the detriment of thousands of wronged clients not to mention the taxpayers……………we can also say that successive PMs also aided and abetted this rot, decay and corruption by doing nothing when they too had the powers of Section 84 to invoke and stop this mess. Well, you can still hide and buy land, but you still cannot hide and work it……………these leeches should have been off the taxpayers payroll decades ago.

  15. @Well Well. It was manageable until the tenure of DS, who went straight from AG to CJ. I am not saying that it was ideal before, because the volume of cases makes that impossible in any court system. However, DS had a say as AG in the appointment of judges and did he ever give us some losers – judges taking a year and a half and now much more, to give judgments on simple matters. Then, as CJ, it simply compounded the error until the courts were inundated with incompetents on the bench. Now you have Casewell trying to persuade us all that anyone who points out the terminal decay in the justice system is “on a witch hunt.” Whether it be Sleepy or Alair or basically anyone who is not prepared to feed the illusory “legacy” of his master. To hell with the havoc it wreaks on the taxpayers. The Master must have his own views of his legacy universally accepted – and so what if it ends up by really hurting Barbados – as it has done and as it is doing? Remember the political expediency that was the Greenland dump? Well, you can now dump the entire justice system in that, but no one must complain, because it erodes the respect and status of a system that is as dead week old fish and twice as smelly. Remember, DS was AG from 1994 and then CJ until 2009/10. Almost all of the judges were appointed during his tenure. The Registrar doesn’t help either. We have had a run of useless Registrars since the appointment of Marie McCormac (aka Lady Simmons) and they all fully expect to have their incompetence rewarded by being promoted to the Bench, you know. The nonsense has got to stop.

  16. When complaints of misconduct or theft was reported by lawyers with clients being the victims was reported to DS, he and the BAR lied to taxpayers for years that nothing could be done………no relief for clients, his hands were tied………….i hope he can sleep at night, i doubt it cause i am hearing otherwise. The situation was so bad at one point i understand by the time they eased Valton Benn off the magistrate’s bench, it had been years since he wrote any decisions, tons of his cases pending…….all at taxpayers expense.

  17. @Gabriel Tackle
    This woman was his demise because of her rude and belligerent attitude toward that office when she was employed there as legal counsel.Actually she engineered his exit through her political contacts

    I heard that there was bad blood between an Gov’t mandarin and a female associate, the mandarin subsequently made a disparaging comment to this female in the presence of others and after a complaint was made to the MOF who was also the PM the mandarin was asked to apologise.

    When the requested apology did not materialize the mandarin was relieved of his duties, however up to this day no “official” reason has been provided by anyone in an official capacity

  18. Amused, if you’re a Barbadian I’m damned proud of you in this instance.
    Too often I’ve watched Barbadian being “bulled” by the systems and they find the silliest of excuses to justify their predicament.

  19. Well Well April 15, 2013 at 10:14 AM …”Panty power…the authorities can find a way to rid the judiciary of both embarrassments.”

    Hear, hear. I second that.

  20. Amused at 11:07 a.. “And in all of it, these jackasses on the bench, from the CJ down…and it is high time that the CJ invoked section 84 of the Constitution and fired the deadwood – and if he will not do it, then the PM should invoke it and FIRE HIM!!!!”

    Nut Amused I thought that the CJ was your friend and that you believed that he would cure us of all our legal ailments?

    Maybe the CJ like Leroy Parris is after all only Fruendel’s friend?

  21. @Well well “so why did David Simmons keep insisting for so many decades that he could do nothing to discipline the criminal element in the judiciary??…………and why did successive Prime Ministers who you say also has such powers of removal, did not invoke such powers back then.???”

    Because everybody else is everybody’s else’s cousin.

  22. Alair, hopefully by his action and his later explanation – frustration by the judicial system – is paving the way for the long over due over haul of the system. Afterall he is the first of two lawyers in Barbados to bring an action against a judge for non-performance of duties!

  23. Its amazing how we as Barbadians can only focus on the actions of Alair Shepherd. No one is looking at the bigger picture, how the judical system is making a mockery of all us Barbadians and there is really nothing that we can do about it.
    I dont think that Alair is a madman so he must have had a reason to do what he did and to him it must have been a very important reason. His matter ive heard had some certificate of urgency attached to it and that after the service commission had appealed the injunction and lost, a speedy trial was ordered by the appeal Judges.
    Some of the Judges in Barbados are very disrespectful and they like to talk down to you so who knows.
    Back to the bigger picture, im wondering if no one is concerned about the frustrated police who sooner or later will pull stumps leaving us all to the criminal elements. I dont believe that Barbados can handle a high crime rate in these tough economic times.
    What about those persons who run to the court especially civil for remedies to some problem(s) they are having. Some die from old age waiting.
    Its clear that something is wrong with the police case especially since it is bouncing from Judge to Judge unlike Garcia’s case one Judge and its almost completed. Garcia seems to be more important that our civil society.

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