A defence lawyer has commented on the conditions plaguing the High Court, including its bathroom, declaring that if the Prime Minister can’t “go in there and sit down” then he shouldn’t either.
Counsel Grant Connell made his observations last Friday, at the end of the third criminal assizes for the court year 2018/2019, and just before the court went on vacation. At the time, figures such as Justice Brian Cottle, the prosecutors, the Superintendent of Prisons, and the private bar made different observations in the presence of all of the stakeholders involved in the assizes.
However, the defence lawyer had a particular issue on his mind to bring to the fore. “It is the conditions of the court, and its environment,” he told Cottle.
The lawyer noted that it is “a very serious issue to address.”
He pointed out the floors, saying, “I went into the changing room, and I had to be very careful I didn’t drop in.”
“Look at the floor there, woodlice” he said, while gesturing to broken areas, “woodlice, woodlice in the back.”
He said that he happened to buy a new suit last month but he had to put this suit with his old suits, because he ripped it when he was passing. “Woodlice again,” he declared.
“It’s like a woodlice society. It’s an image, you touch it, and then everything fall apart,” he continued, while the court had to be brought to order.
“I attempted to go to the bathroom this morning, no toilet seat, a piece of metal covering a hole… I tap it, I look through,” he stated, speaking about the toilet facility that must be used by all visitors to the court, jurors, and lawyers.
“That bathroom round there should be fit for the baby, for Grant Connell,” Connell stated, “…or the Prime Minister to go in there and sit down.”
“If he can’t go in there and sit down, I shouldn’t go in there and sit down,” the lawyer concluded.
He said that he recognized that he may get “a bite or two” or, a call or two for his interjections. “No problem,” he said in a nonchalant tone, “somebody has to say something.”
Further, he commented that when he parks outside, he has to jump over water coming from “areas”.
He also mentioned the police officers who stand for eight to nine hours but have no room for them to rest.
Connell stated that he had made suggestions to the High Court Registrar to have paid parking for the lawyers, in order to find the money to solve some of these issues.
“And the lawyers should be the ones talking. I don’t know what is stopping them,” he stated, adding, “Some will pull out their violin and talk about tax, but I could talk because I pay my tax. So let it go on record that I pay my tax.”
Less than a week after these comments by Connell, Roxtanne Millington, Communications Officer from the Roads, Buildings and General Services Authority (BRAGSA) announced that now that the High Court is on break, the bathroom should be refitted in around two weeks time.
Millington told SEARCHLIGHT that their team is ready to replace the wooden structure of the bathroom, which has been plagued by termites over the years, with a concrete structure, and the toilet is to be completely replaced as well.