September 23, 2011
‘Claim made about Chief Magistrate is total rubbish!’

According to the Director of Public Prosections (DPP) Colin Williams, Chief Magistrate Sonya Young is upset about a claim that she was intimidated into upholding the decision to throw out the rape case {{more}} filed against Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves in February 2008.

Speaking on the call-in radio programme ‘Issue at Hand’ on We FM on Sunday, September 18, DPP Colin Williams dismissed that claim made about the Chief Magistrate as “absolute rubbish”.

In a recently released US diplomatic cable posted on WikiLeaks, it was stated that president of the SVG Human Rights Association and Lawyer Nicole Sylvester told staff members of the US Embassy in Barbados that the Chief Magistrate had intimated to her that she had been subjected to intimidation and pressure.

“The Chief Magistrate has assured me no such conversation ever took place between herself and Miss Sylvester,” said Williams.

“I believe Miss Young on that point because she was visibly upset when she saw the content of that report, and this kind of misrepresentation could in fact taint persons who have a judicial career.”

On February 4, 2008, DPP Williams took over and discontinued two private criminal complaints of rape and indecent assault which had been filed in the Magistrate’s Court against Prime Minister Gonsalves by a 36-year-old police woman.

In a report published on February 4, 2008, Williams told SEARCHLIGHT that he discontinued the complaints “in the best interest of justice.” He said that one key factor leading to his decision is that the accusers have refused to provide the police or his office with a formal statement about the matter. He also said there was an absence of any medical or forensic evidence to support the claim of the police woman.

The DPP’s decision was upheld in the High Court, when on March 11, 2008, High Court Judge Gertel Thom ruled that she found “no arguable grounds for a review”. The cable states: ‘According to Sylvester, the Chief Magistrate in the case, Simone [sic] Young, intimated to her that she too was the subject of intimidation and “pressure”, and confided in Sylvester, “I may lose my job” (if she rules the case be continued).’

During his contribution to last Sunday’s programme, Williams stated, “Only a judge can sit in judicial review of a decision of the DPP to discontinue the matter. So there are inaccuracies and falsities that were stated to the Embassy persons.”

Williams further said that because the Chief Magistrate is a judicial officer, when “lies are told about her, she is constrained in responding.”

“Persons would make these statements simply because they thought they would never be found out; they thought they would never be exposed,” opined Williams.

Despite admitting that he does not agree with what WikiLeaks does, Williams conceded that this particular cable has not been all negative.

“I am not a supporter of what WikiLeaks has done… what they have done is commit an act of theft. “The conduct of matters of state require some privacy. “

He continued, however: “There is some good in the Wikileaks, in that it has exposed persons, who under the cover and cloak of darkness and secrecy, decide to go and say things that they probably presume will never come to light in their life-time.”

The cable was created on February 6, 2008 by former US Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Mary Ourisman; and was released by Wikileaks on August 30, 2011.(JV)