From the Courts
March 19, 2010
Justice Bruce-Lyle: Standard of law is a concern

Resident High Court Judge, Justice Frederick Bruce-Lyle, is of the view that the standard of law in St Vincent and the Grenadines is falling.{{more}}

Justice Bruce-Lyle was at the time addressing the closing of the Criminal Assizes at the High Court on Tuesday, March 16, 2010. Bruce-Lyle stated: “The manner in which some counsels behave is a cause for concern.” He noted that some lawyers are even attacking the judiciary, which they are supposed to be protecting.

“The standards are falling badly and it’s nothing to be proud about… when Barristers in other countries hear what is going on in St Vincent, they laugh at us,” Bruce-Lyle added.

The judge also expressed his concern about the number of cases that were dealt with at the Assizes. Only 15 out of the 60 matters listed were dealt with. Bruce-Lyle said that once St Vincent gets onboard with the new Criminal Procedure rules, matters would be dealt with more expeditiously.

Director of Public Prosecutions Colin Williams explained that it has not been the best of Assizes. He noted that the loss of time due to the Court of Appeal and some counsels not notifying the Prosecution early about certain plea changes for their clients was some of the contributing factors why only 15 cases were handled.

However, all the judge’s time was not spent on chiding Barristers. Justice Bruce-Lyle commended young Prosecutor Sejilla McDowall for the tremendous work she did throughout the Assizes. The daughter of Assistant Commissioner of Police, Ekron Lockhart, Bruce-Lyle urged the Barrister of five months to remain humble and that she would go far in the profession once she is willing to learn.

Bruce-Lyle also lauded the police force for a doing a great job despite the verbal onslaught thrown their way all the time. The judge noted when he came to St Vincent and the Grenadines most of the now top brass of the police force were constables and corporals. “I am proud of those who help themselves and we need to recognise the men and women of the police force… thank you for the service you are giving to the nation,” Bruce-Lyle noted. The jurors, officers from the Criminal Records Officers, Court staff were all thanked for their cooperation during the Assizes.