Magistrate warns that current backlog in issuing court orders is costing the Government

Chief Marshal Adrian Lovell today issued a timely reminder that court marshals, who knowingly act in contravention of their oath, or those found guilty of neglect, misconduct or breach of duty are liable on summary conviction to a fine of $2 000 or imprisonment for a year.

He was testifying in the District ‘A’ Traffic Court today, after being summoned yesterday by Magistrate Graveney Bannister, who also raised strong concern today that the current delay in summoning offenders was “denying the Government of revenue”.

Their comments come against the backdrop of a sworn affidavit by one of his court officers that he had personally served a summons to ZR driver Kelroy Alexander for him to attend court on October 6, 2014.

A warrant of arrest was subsequently issued for the driver, based on the fact that he was served “personally”. However, when the accused turned up in court on Monday, he said he was never served and was in fact out of the island at that time.

The marshal later admitted that when he had signed the affidavit, as having served the document “personally”, it was as a result of the heavy workload he had that day and it was “a genuine mistake”. He said he gave the summons to the man’s stepdaughter.

During his evidence, the Chief Marshal explained the correct procedure to be followed in an instance when an accused could not be located.

He said it was the marshal’s responsibility to “endorse the book of summons on a sworn affidavit”, indicate that information and make a sworn statement before a Justice of the Peace.

In response, the magistrate said one of his major concerns was the large number of returned summonses, which the Chief Marshal suggested could be sent back to his office to be reissued.

Bannister determined that he would refer the matter to the Registrar of the Supreme Court, who is in charge of the marshals, for her to determine the course of action to be taken, if any.

The magistrate later told Barbados TODAY he felt that the number of unserved summonses “affects the whole operations of the court,” particularly since many of the summonses are related to repeat offenders who “persist in the same kind of bad behaviour on the road [because] they are not being brought before the court in a timely fashion”.

This pile of summonses was from the past three months only.
This pile of summonses was from the past three months only.

“They don’t change their behaviour because the sanctions are long in coming,” he said.

“This prevents the court from adjudicating on their matters and imposing sanctions”.

Bannister reckoned that on occasions, one offender could have as many as “25 or 30” summonses brought against him at one time.

By then, he said the fines would be staggering if the court were to consider each offence, while noting that many accused persons did  not have the means to honour their fines.

While arguing that the delay in serving court orders was “denying the Government of revenue”, the magistrate contended “greater effort needs to be made in terms of serving these summonses”.

Source: (Sandra Downes)

3 Responses to COSTLY DELAYS

  1. Tony Webster February 21, 2015 at 5:49 am

    I would like a summons issued against the person or persons “where the buck stops”…whomsoever that is…to attend the Court of Public Opinion no later than 48 hours hence, and tell the people, bible in hand…that while he had no idea it was as shambolic as now disclosed…that he/she/they will fix the system, fast, and also discipline all those who have presided over this monumental fiasco!

    The state and extent of dysfunction now revealed beggars belief, but it at least indicates that a lot scales are falling-off eyes, and an equal number of pot-lids being removed from covering mouths.

    Thanks be to God. We await the explanation from “on high”, and the “action-plan” of remedies to come.

  2. Meakai February 21, 2015 at 9:07 am

    When the Judiciary becomes more concerned about offenders “denying the Government of revenue” and less about actually doing something to prevent said offenders from collecting 20 and 30 reports, one can understand the sentiments of PSV workers that the courts and Government view them as “cash cows”.

    PSV workers now that you have confirmation, will you be employing strategies to continue “denying the Government of revenue” or will it be business as usual.

    No more reports would be a good start since your efforts at keeping the Treasury from running dry are not appreciated by the populace.

  3. Maxine Hutchinson February 21, 2015 at 11:55 am

    Meakal, you have answered your own question.

    By the way, members of the judiciary are not to be confused with those workers in the “helping profession”. They did not major in “studying behaviour”, they studied Law. Such is the domain of the psychologists and the psychiatrists and professional counsellors.

    Some ZR drivers can be diagnosed with a mental disorder which would have arisen from untreated ADD or ADHD and which would have spiralled as they grew in years. They now pass off their mental disorder with the name of “thug”. In other words, many of the ZR drivers have mental disorders and some of them are aware of their diagnosis but mask it by pretending that they are “bad men”. At the present time, the diagnosis of “Anti-social personality” is the name given to those with the spiralled condition of ADD or ADHD.


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