Deputy Governor, David Archer Jr. today, January 16, came out in defense of the judiciary system following media reports that a Magistrate's brother was granted bail for a gun related charge.
"I find it important to note that the decision on this case was handed down by Magistrate Christilyn Benjamin and not by Senior Magistrate Tamia Richards," the Deputy Governor disclosed in a statement to the media.
He pointed out that where a conflict of interest arises, the matter is then listed for hearing before another judicial officer that is not conflicted.
According to Archer Jr., the laws that have been instituted have guided our judiciary for many years now. He added that the system involves a close working relationship between the police, the courts, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Attorney General’s Chambers.
"Canons of judicial ethics would disqualify a judicial officer, such as a Magistrate, from presiding over any matter and having any involvement in his or her public capacity, both seen and unseen in which his or her impartiality may be reasonably questioned, including in a case involving a relative," He stated.
Further, the Deputy Governor noted that each judicial officer has complete judicial independence from the other and the assigned judicial officer will be able to render whatever decision he or she considers accords with the law, free from any interference of the conflicted judicial officer.
"The public should also have full confidence that the Code of Judicial Conduct of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and the common law principles on the conduct of judicial officers will continue to serve as the standard that the judiciary will be required to follow in the Territory of the Virgin Islands," the Deputy Governor stated.
He also encouraged persons who have legitimate complaints about improper conduct by judicial officers should make such complaints under confidential correspondence to the Deputy Governor’s Office.
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