Tales from the Courts – No Excuses Says Former Judge XX

Justice delayed is justice denied [William Penn]

For several years BU has been ridiculed by many for making the observation Barbados law courts are stymied by a backlog of cases and unable to dispense justice in a timely manner.  BU is on record advocating that QCs function as deputy judges to help with building efficiency in the courts.

The Barbados Bar Association (BA) in a report carried in the local media titled Go with acting judges confirms BU’s message. The article quotes the BA wanting more judges to help reduce the backload and is calling for government to increase filing and application fees both in the Supreme Court and the Registration Department. The BA’s grievances were addressed in a letter directed to Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler. The letter also made the point the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) had on several occasions reprimanded both the Court of Appeal and the High Court for the unacceptable amount of time it took for cases to be tried and judgements given’. Does any of this looks familiar?

BU states for the record we are against the BA’s recommendation to increase filing and application fees. At a time of unprecedented financial crisis in Barbados such a move is bound to reduce access to justice by the poor, tipping the scale further in favour of the well off. What manner of people are to want to implement a pricing system to hinder ordinary citizens access to justice?

Are we about selling justice now?

Barbados Underground

Retired Judge Peter Williams earns a BU star. Retired Judge Peter Williams earns a BU star.

The idea anyone should have to spend eleven years on remand or have to wait a decade to have an appeal heard is unacceptable in any society concerned with delivering justice.  When unacceptable delays occur, and some will be justifiable,  the legal maxim justice delayed is justice denied comes into play and must be addressed with haste by a caring society.  When the person  who has to suffer the injustice is a Barbadian it makes it all the more egregious. Others may add we have a government who offered the rhetoric it is committed to build out a society rather than focused on the economy.

BU has posted exhaustively in the Tales from the Courts  about the dark side of the Barbados judiciary. Regrettably Barbadians are more concerned (if at all) with other matters. How can we have a wholesome society…

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20 comments

  • Wade Gibbons

    Yesterday at 12:11am · Edited ·

    Here is a quick puzzle for facebook folk. . .and Sir Marston Gibson

    More than 23 years ago a paper committal system was introduced in Barbados to bypass preliminary hearings and to speed up the court process. Police loved the idea, lawyers didn’t. The paper committal system led to police not having to give evidence twice in the same case at the Magistrates’ Court and then the Supreme Court, and depriving themselves of off-days and even vacation when cases coincided.

    The paper committal system led to lawyers not getting paid twice for the same case. Payment for representation of clients at the Magistrates Court and payment again for representation of the same clients at the Supreme Court. Twenty-odd years have passed and the paper committal system is hardly, if ever used. Take one guess and put the puzzle together. Which of the professional groups is most likely responsible for the demise of the paper committal system? Stop talking all the damn time, Sir Marston. Do some homework, join the dots, deal with the problem.

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  • Give Sir Marston a break. If he knew what to do, don’t you think that he would have done it already. LOL!

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  • Mr. Gibbons, who happens to be a very good friend of mine, seems to be focusing his attention on what’s beneficial to the police and the lawyers, but has he given little or no voice to what interest the accused in his or her pursuit of justice. And maybe a committal paper system sounds like a great idea on paper, but in reality it might have a detrimental impact on an accused right to seek justice. And doesn’t a preliminary hearing determines whether or not the state has enough evidence against an accused to move forwards with the case? (In essence, the preliminary hearing is to challenges the indictment brought by the state.) Where are you Ross? This is your area of interest my good friend; haven’t heard from you in quite sometime are you still alive?

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  • Mr. Gibbons, I think the risk is justifiable to have a police officer testify in a court case on his off day and a lawyer not being paid on time; at the expense of an innocent person having to spend the rest of his natural life behind prison walls.

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  • @ Dompey
    “Where are you Ross?…..haven’t heard from you in quite sometime”
    +++++++++++++++
    Oh that we could say the same of Dompey…. 🙂

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  • Bush Tea, I am yet young and have to forge out a living for my family and myself. Only an old fogy like you yourself, who has one foot on the elevator to Heaven and the other one possibly to Hell, can afford to be on this medium in perpetuality .

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  • Pingback: Tales from the Courts – No Excuses Says Former Judge XX - Black in BarbadosBlack in Barbados

  • PLANTATION DEEDS FROM 1926TO 2014 MASSIVE FRAUD LANDTAX BILLS AND NO DEEDS, BARBADOS DLP/BLP MASSIVE PONZI FRAUD

    Where are the new judges to come from? when most of the lawyers and QCs are crooks .Better get them right out of law schools before they became crooks also.

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  • Sunshine Sunny Shine

    The Barbadian system of doing business, particularly that of the government system are yet to understand the meaning of efficiency and how important it is in the building of confidence. Therefore if an island for years continue to ignore efficiency but focus on the monetary, it is clear therefore why efficiency has know merit in the eyes of these “ministers” of justice. Personal monetary gains are far more important than the fulfillment than expediting the process of justice via efficient systems. Therefore one has to conclude and rightfully assume that the act is deliberate to solicit maximum gains and constitutes an obvious corrupt position, which has no desire whatsoever to what is necessary for justice to be served in a timely and efficient manner. The Verdict –CORRUPT WITH A PURPOSE

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  • @David. Excellent.

    I want to put forward a thought on the increase of fees. It seems to me that an increase in fees ought to be justified only by an improvement in the service. Since the service has been steadily going downhill, surely it makes more sense to DECREASE the fees. Especially in this time of financial hardship. For instance, 10 years ago, probate in an estate would take maybe 3 months, while today it takes much longer, however, it has to be said that the new Registrar is working on this, but it isn’t fixed yet by a long chalk.

    It appears to me that the people who broke the justice system before are now trying to suggest that the taxpayer who was paying them not to break it, must now pay for it to be fixed. I disagree. The BA is sitting with millions of dollars in its compensation fund, not a penny of which has it ever paid out to any victim of crooked lawyers (which is the function of the compensation fund). Well, BA, the people of Barbados are victims of the justice system. Rather than asking us to pay more for filing fees for a useless service and the repair of same, why don’t you turn over the compensation fund to pay for it all.

    As for Gibson, in any truly judicially enlightened country, he would have been gone, either by resignation or dismissal. That he is still CJ is a terrible indictment of both the Executive and the Justice System, which is a indictment of Barbados in the eyes of the international community.

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  • Dompey

    Please ignore Bush Tea. He tilts from hyperglycaemic to hypoglycaemic and really can’t be trusted on anything very much….not that he ever says anything very much…….though, for me, he remains lovable in my nightmare moments..

    I agree with everything you said. It really isn’t a question of a double turnover as the double turnover David typically suggests. BUT the delays in the remand system ARE horrendous and, over-all, delays are putting the poor old Victorian paddle-steamer at serious risk. All systems have them of course but it’s a question of scale.

    I do think it’s time for the Police to get their act together. Much of the delay is caused by them ‘not being ready’ to proceed or the standard line ‘we don’t have a file’. Well, if they haven’t essentially got it together why have they arrested the accused, now on remand, in the first place? Time for what I’ve suggested as a ‘three strike’ rule.

    Yes greater use might be made of temporary judges.,,,,,Olson Alleyne (at one time) times 10. But how do you guarantee judicial quality? Think of those magistrates who still can’t seem to understand the provisions of the Bail Act.

    The CJ has much to answer for in not meeting with and accommodating the proposals for retrenching delays of the then President Pilgrim – a little fandango which BU applauded but now conveniently forgets. And despite his repeated waffle about ADR has it actually been introduced in any serious way three years on? The Drugs Court proposal is much further advanced but, of course, has had the benefit of funding from CICAD.

    I entirely agree with the argument about increasing court fees. It makes no sense to me and I’m yet to hear any coherent argument in support of it. I wish the BA would not side-track itself with matters of this kind. It’s akin to car parking difficulties which we all experience. BUT why would the BA be obsessive about it in the first place? It makes attorneys sound petty little pipsters with a rod up the wrong orifice.

    Dompey…I’ve gone on a bit just to assure you I’m alive – pace David and BT – though still at present in God’s own other country seeking inspiration for old bones.

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  • The Attorney General, CJ, siting and retired Justices, BA, ministers of government, CCJ, Police, what do they all have in common? They agree delays in processing court decisions is too long.

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  • @ David
    They all don’t like time management, and transparency …. it may lead to exposure?

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  • And the killings and shootings in this country continues unabated. And now boldly in broad day light, in crowded places, and nothing seems to be being done to curtail these acts of lawlessness , in spite of the fact that we now have prominent lawyers as Prime Minister, and the Leader of the Opposition, an imported Hot Shot United States Attorney -at-law ,as Chief Justice, an imported British -trained “what ever”, as Attorney General, plus a bariffle of lawyers as members of both sides of both Houses of Parliament
    Perhaps we should call for the cutting of their salaries and perks, so that they are able to slim down and get up off their now big fat arses and start doing what they have been elected and handsomely paid to do, serve the Masses ,and not to give comfort to the criminal elements of this country by their inability to act.
    One fine day these same very guns , may very well turn against the same very people ,who now has the power to do something , but seemingly choose to take a back seat on the issue,and peep round the corner , to see if the situation has cleared itself.
    And we are the same people who are very knowledgeable and vocal and have all the answers to the world’s conflicts in Russia/Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Israel / Palestine.,and even Britain and Scotland.

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  • Sunshine Sunny Shine

    @Colonel Buggy

    I am here watching the tools that many governments are using to combat crime. Some countries are placing cameras in places where you would never expect to see cameras. There are trees that are so fake but look so real with CCTV cameras. In major cities they are cameras in every conceivable position and angle that can capture any crime and the possible faces of those committing them. Store owners under a special discounted programme are advised to equip the outside and inside with CCTV cameras.

    Barbados approach to the fight is just absolutely pathetic. Money is allocated for some of the most shitety endeavours and for sending people on missions and overseas trips at exorbitant costs. Yet to invest in proper crime fighting aids like CCTV cameras, proper overseas crime fighting training for that laid back lazy lot that operate in some of our police stations and establishment a proper disciplinary investigative committee (now that compromise lot) to deal with the corrupt elements in the police force and for completely amending the laws and shitety judicial systems that has put us under the negative radar, we continue to operate like its business as usual. The thing is the corruption is right in front your eyes yet so common place it is ignored.

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  • Barbadians have become so sucked in to a culture that holds nobody accountable there is no fear by authorities to discontinue old behaviours. This week in the news we learned that HP, the multinational company was fined for bribing Russian, Mexican and other officials to win contract BUT it can’t happen here.

    HP Fined $58.7M for Bribery of Russian Government

    SAN FRANCISCO — Sep 11, 2014, 9:07 PM ET

    Associated Press

    Hewlett-Packard Co. pleaded guilty Thursday to felony charges that former employees bribed Russian government officials for a contract, and the company has been fined $58.7 million.

    Hewlett-Packard’s Russian subsidiary admitted violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in a Northern California court Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement.

    The U.S. alleged that the HP division paid $2 million to retain a technology contract with Russian prosecutors.

    "In a brazen violation of the FCPA, Hewlett-Packard’s Russia subsidiary used millions of dollars in bribes from a secret slush fund to secure a lucrative government contract," said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Marshall L. Miller. "Even more troubling was that the government contract up for sale was with Russia’s top prosecutor’s office."

    http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/hp-fined-587m-bribery-russian-government-25445768

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  • Yesterday’s editorial:

    EDITORIAL: Get radical with backlog

    Fri, September 12, 2014 – 12:00 AM

    Our judicial system has been at a standstill for several years – literally. We are sure we will not find many people in the country who will argue differently.

    What absolutely does not make sense in the whole affair, however, is why it has been able to persist in an area of public life that is populated by some of the most fertile brains the country has at its disposal.

    It seems like almost a generation now that we have been complaining about the slow pace at which our courts work, and the horrendous impact it has been having on how we do business here. Worse is that the reputation of the country has taken a serious hit, particularly in the area of international business, because people coming from other jurisdictions to do business here can’t cope with our system that seems devoid of time standards.

    Additionally, it would appear that not even criticism at the highest level – coming from members of the Cabinet and Parliament – has been able to break the back of this inefficiency that seems now to almost naturally characterise our justice system.

    http://www.nationnews.com/articles/view/editorial-get-radical-with-backlog/

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  • Mystery over court closure
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    Mystery over court closure
    SAT, SEPTEMBER 13, 2014 – 12:10 AM

    A cloud of mystery hangs over the lockdown of the St Matthias Court complex two days ago.

    Workers, eventually joined on the outside by lawyers, accused persons and the public, were barred from entering the premises without any explanation on Wednesday.

    But a source told the SATURDAY SUN that the drastic action might have something to do with reports of money going missing from the compound.

    Several thousands of dollars reportedly disappeared prompting the shutdown order in an attempt to safeguard the compound while a preliminary internal investigation was conducted. But sources said that the move, with instructions given only to the security, was so sudden and secret that it caught many off guard including some in authorities.

    Please read the full story in today’s SATURDAY SUN, or in the eNATION edition.

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  • This time around the Speaker of the House makes his feelings known about the backlog in the Court

    http://www.barbadostoday.bb/2014/09/17/carrington-condemns-court-backlogs/

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  • overseasbajanyankee

    @David

    that’s the wrong link above

    Like

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