Response to ‘DPP fires back’ article

IN my capacity as Chief Magistrate, I wish to formally respond, on behalf of the magistracy, to the article on the front page of Saturday March 10, 2018 edition of the Solomon Star entitled, “DPP fires back”.

The article quotes the DPP as follows “If it appears to any person that there is no control mechanism within the management of cases in the office then I am afraid, it reflects on an erroneous assumption, or perhaps inexperience or ignorance to say the least”. In this quote the DPP is referring to comments made in court by Principal Magistrate Fatima Taeburi in a case in which two police officers were acquitted of charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The Magistrates Court takes great exception to these comments which are unwarranted, unfounded, and inappropriate and way out of line.

Madame Taeburi is an experienced and accomplished Magistrate who strives to manage her cases appropriately.

I wish to point out that it is the duty of all Magistrates to take control of the management and handling of cases that come before them, in order to ensure that there are no unnecessary delays and ensure the best use of court time.

In this regard, if a magistrate has concerns about the conduct of any party or their counsel it is perfectly appropriate to voice those concerns in the court room.

Everyone must be aware what is expected of them, and that the Magistrate’s Courts in this country will no longer tolerate unnecessary adjournment, delays and the avoidable waste of its time.

I do not propose to discuss the precise details of this case and Madam Taeburi’s judgment.

I will just say that madam Taeburi was fully justified in raising her genuine concerns in court.

And if the DPP has concerns over her comments, then he is perfectly aware that such issues can be raised with either my-self or the Chief Justice, or alternatively he can make a formal referral to the Judicial and Legal Services Commission through the Registrar of the High Court.

What is totally unacceptable is to bypass all the official and transparent complaints procedures (which would allow considered deliberations on the issues and provide the Magistrate with a right to respond) in order to lambast a Magistrate’s conduct and accuse her of “inexperience” and “ignorance” through the media.

Emma Garo

Chief Magistrate

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