Our Readers' Opinions
August 20, 2004

Leaky roof and disrespect in Magistrate’s Court

Editor: On Monday while awaiting a case at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court a shower of rain came down and the roof inside the courtroom started leaking.
A Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer had to fetch a garbage bin from outside to catch the water dripping from the roof which was patched by a piece of board. As a result a number of persons in the courtroom started laughing.{{more}}
The courtroom is sometimes hot, people are sweaty and often stink; you can now add wet when it rains to the list of problems there.
Another problem that exists at the Magistrate’s Court is that police at the courthouse bellow out your name without the use of a public address system. It is almost impossible for all the persons who come to court to wait within earshot, as the waiting area is small and most of the time overcrowded.
If you do not hear your name, you can find yourself being served with a bench warrant and taken into custody. The authorities should look into installing a PA system so that persons can hear their names being called.
To me, it seems as if police officers at the courthouse sometimes abuse their power; they talk to persons rudely and in some instances provoke persons to anger with sarcastic remarks and rude and out of the way comments.
I watched a guy sitting in the courtroom with one hand on his girlfriend while awaiting a traffic case; the look on the guy’s face told only one story, he was very frightened. Up comes an officer bellowing to the guy to take his hand off his girlfriend, further scaring the fellow. The guy was obviously looking to his girl for support – was the officer’s maliciousness needed in this situation?
Another problem is that persons come to the courthouse at 9 a.m. and sometimes wait for the entire day without the case being called. They are then given another date and this can go on for months. A lady said that she has been coming to court for the same matter for over three years. This matter needs to be addressed also.
I am calling on relevant authorities to look into the state of the Magistrate’s Court in Kingstown.

Concerned Citizen