Following concerns raised by several attorneys, acting magistrates have now been assigned to three magistrates’ courts.
Elwood Watts, the Principal Crown Counsel with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, is now sitting in the District ‘A’ Traffic Court while the substantive Magistrate Graveney Bannister is on holiday.
His counterpart Alliston Seale has taken up duties at the Oistins Magistrate Court, which is temporarily sitting in the No. 3 Supreme Court on Whitepark Road.
Deborah Beckles from the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office is also sitting at Holetown while Magistrate Wanda Blair is on holiday.
Meanwhile, the substantive Magistrate of the District ‘B’ Magistrates Court Laurie-Ann Smith-Bovell is acting as Master of the Supreme Court while Deborah Holder is on holiday.
With Seale now at Oistins Court, Acting Chief Magistrate Christopher Birch will continue hearing Districts ‘B’ and ‘C’ matters.
Just yesterday, attorney-at law Arthur Holder issued a strong warning that the present backlog in the court system would remain unless more judges and ancillary staff were appointed to the High Court.
Holder, whose sentiments reflect the concerns expressed by a number of his colleagues, noted then that there were only two judges sitting in the Number 2 and Number 5 Courts, which hear criminal cases. The criminal attorney had also voiced concern over Government’s delay in appointing a magistrate at the Oistin’s Court, pointing out that the court had not been in operation since January this year. He had also pointed to challenges at the District ‘A’ Criminal Court and the Holetown. Magistrate Court as well as at Boarded Hall whose magistrate had been appointed to act as Master of the Supreme Court.