Chief Magistrate Churaman calls it a day
From the Courts
September 28, 2007

Chief Magistrate Churaman calls it a day

She only came to these shores for a vacation; who knew that 10 years and numerous magisterial decisions later that former Chief Magistrate Simone Churaman would still be addicted to the wonders and joys of St Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}}

However, last week Thursday, the Serious Offences Court was the scene of sad faces and teary eyes as the woman who delivered firm justice since the establishment of the Serious Offences Court over four years ago sat in that position for the last time. Churaman was leaving!

The soft-spoken Guyanese born said her decision to resign was a free decision and that no one asked her to leave. Addressing the court from her magistrate’s chair, she said that she found it was time to move on to something different. “I have not seen any significant advances in my career over recent years, and I felt like this is an opportunity to do different things,” related Churaman. When the magistrate spoke about different things, she was referring to the new post that she will be taking up in the United Kingdom come October 15, as a senior principal legal advisor to the British government for a year. While there, she would be specialising in serious and organized crimes, in particular fraud. Churaman’s sojourn to the United Kingdom would serve as a bit of a homecoming, as she lived there from the age of 11 and then went to work later as a lawyer for the British Government.

Churaman also admitted that sitting in her position was not always easy, and that she kept focussed on what her job was, and that was to deliver fair justice. “I am a great believer in the concept of the independence of judiciary, impartiality, integrity and I do believe these are necessary of any magistrate,” related Churaman.

The former chief told SEARCHLIGHT that every decison she made was never made off her emotions, but by the principals of the judicial system. “I have made decisions that some people may not have liked, but I always handed down fair justice, and that made me sleep with a clear conscience,” she added.

Recognising that this country is a highly politically polarised society, Churaman said as a magistrate, she always stood on one side, which was the side of the law, and that she was never in her position to be liked.

Churaman also said the Serious Offences Court has earned an impressive reputation for being efficient and effective in showing consistency in sentencing and maintaining high professional standards. Churaman said that the next magistrate to replace her would have a huge reputation to live up to.

High praises also came from Prosecutor Station Sergeant Nigel Butcher who said many would be saddened by her departure. “Your Lordship, I admire you as a person and the way you stand firm no matter what is going on.” The prosecutor further added that he was always amazed by her calm disposition even when defendants and lawyers behaved in an unbecoming manner.

Station Sergeant Trevor Bailey was also on hand to thank the magistrate for her time served and conveyed best wishes to her.

A broad smile covered her face as she attributed much of her success to the people she worked around.

The magistrate said after returning from her stint in the UK that she would be considering her options.

A small gathering was also held for Magistrate Churaman on Friday, where other members of the Serious Offences Court presented her with a token of appreciation and conveyed best wishes.

Churaman’s contract was scheduled to end in May 2008. No word has been given as to who will replace Churaman. (KW)