From the Courts
May 25, 2007
Lawyer complains to the Attorney General about magistrate

The office of the Attorney General has no power to discipline a magistrate.

This was Attorney General Judith Jones Morgan’s response when she was informed by SEARCHLIGHT that lawyer Sylvester Raymond-Cadette had written a letter of complaint to her about the performance of Chief Magistrate, Simone Churaman.{{more}}

Attorney General Morgan told SEARCHLIGHT that she had not seen the letter but could only assume that the letter was only sent in the interest of information because disciplinary inquires and actions concerning a magistrate are in the jurisdiction of the St Lucia based Judicial and Legal Services Commission.

She explained that people can write to the Attorney General about a judicial officer but all she could do was allow the officer to tell their side of the story, if they so desire.

“If it is a matter that the administration could help resolve, then I could assist, but that is as far as it could go,” Attorney General Morgan explained.

Raymond-Cadette and Churaman’s paths crossed last week when Churaman threw out a case of burglary against Esther Rawlins, 22, of Kingstown. Rawlins was charged with entering the Cane Garden home of Raymond-Cadette and stealing a quantity of items including clothing and food valued at over EC$900.

In her defence, Rawlins claimed to have had a secret affair with Raymond-Cadette since 2002 and said that the charges against her were bogus; revenge by Raymond-Cadette because they were no longer involved in the relationship.

In delivering her judgment, Magistrate Churaman had said that there was no doubt that the defendant was telling the truth and that it appeared that she had been set up. Churaman went on to say that Raymond-Cadette’s evidence was not credible, therefore she found the defendant not guilty.

When contacted by SEARCHLIGHT Chief Magistrate Churaman said that she couldn’t comment on the accusations and she wasn’t prepared to dignify the claims with a response.

She said that she would allow the process to take its normal course. (KJ)