Paul Lismore


Rédigé par Paul Lismore le Mardi 14 Juillet 2020

Your Lordship

Please forgive me for writing directly to you in this manner, but I hope you will understand that there is simply no other way to bring to your attention all the issues that follow, and which affect the lives of every citizen on this island.

I hope you won't mind me putting the points that I raise in bullet form format, as otherwise this is going to be a rather lengthy letter and therefore a drain on your valuable time.

1/ It is always desirable to replace old blood with new one, but the way some judges have been appointed despite them having never written a judgement prior to their promotion does not augur well for the quality of future judgements...

2/ The role of Master and Registrar is obviously a specialised one, and I would submit that it is incoherent to transplant someone straight from the DPP's office into the Master and Registrar's position, because the first one deals with mostly criminal cases whereas the latter is involved primarily with civil procedure and civil law. I would not be so rude as to refer to these appointments as 'lisien dan la mizik', but I hope you get my point submitted to you in good faith.

3/ The days of selecting magistrates and letting them loose on the public without any training are an obvious anachronism that really needs to be abandoned. The urgency and importance of opening an Ecole de Magistrature cannot be overstated.

4/ Everyone talks about the " Digital Economy", but I am afraid our court system is still in the Middle Ages. How else can one describe it when in the days of advanced technology, court recordings are still taken by hand?

Digital recordings do take place in the Supreme court and in the Intermediate Courts; however, it is quite incomprehensible and very frustrating that it takes absolute ages for hard copies of recordings to be made available to all parties.

Consequently, judgements are often postponed sine die, causing a great deal of frustration to the Prosecution, the Defence, and especially the accused and the victims who want to see justice in a decent interval of time.

5/ This follows on from point 4:

The Privy Council has often 'admonished' us for the inordinate length of time it takes to deliver judgements. Not much has changed unfortunately, and some judges are known to still take 3-4 years to decide on the outcome of a case.

I would respectfully submit that the time has now come to introduce a time frame for judgments. If the law lords of the Privy Council can take two or three months at most, it beggars belief that our judiciary still takes ages to deliver judgments. Especially as now, judges have all the facilities, digital records, legal assistants, etc,  and they request for written submissions from counsel, which in itself is a good thing .  

It is patently obvious that in this digital age and in our much vaunted I.T. Hub island, all our courts ought to be Wi Fi friendly. For some obscure reason, the website of the Supreme Court looks like it has not been upgraded for years....and in our democracy, the fact that the public, who after all pays our wages and provides all the courts' facilities, are denied access to it should concern all those who believe in true democratic ideals and accountability.

6/ There is an obvious and glaring anomaly in the law: For stay of execution in writ habere facias ( eviction orders), the same judge who has delivered the order also decides whether to stay the order or not! 

7/ Your Lordship, the primary role of the Chief Judge, the judges, the magistrates, the courts is to deliver justice as soon as practically possible. Consequently, I hope you will agree with me that there is now an extreme urgency for  a Chief Executive/ General Manager for the administration of the courts to be appointed. We cannot really expect our judges to waste their precious time on mundane matters like administration, how many paper clips should be ordered, etc.

8/ Much more should be done to ensure that prior to trials, the prosecution should ensure the availability of witnesses and all parties connected to the case. A lot of unwarranted delay is caused due to the maladministration of this aspect of court procedures.

9/ Judges and magistrates should lead by example. Why ask all those concerned to come to the District/Intermediate Courts at 9.30 a.m. and at 10.30 to the Supreme Court when very often, the magistrates and judges are themselves late, sometimes very late? Justice cannot be delivered if it is subject to the whims and caprices of those charged with the principles of equity and fairness....

10/  The selection and appointment of Senior Counsel and Attorneys should be based on merit and not on obscure considerations, like religion, caste, level of sycophancy, etc. It is high time to end the incestuous relationship between the bench, the DPP’s office, and AG’s office. This was recommended in the Mackay report, many years ago...

The Judiciary must be seen to be a fiercely independent body that people can automatically trust, and members of the judiciary should therefore disclose their memberships in clubs, lodges etc. The UK did it many years ago, as far as I am aware, the Heavens did not fall on the UK as a consequence of that liberal action...

As you know, the corruption of the mind is the worst form of corruption, as it is invisible but laden with drastic consequences.

Reform of formal matters is a must, an absolute necessity . Some lawyers make an abuse of the pre trial procedure to delay trials, with trivial motions that have no chance of success. And there is absolutely no reason why a trial should be suspended for a few weeks and months in order for the judge or magistrate to cogitate on a fairly inconsequential point of law. These matters are often dealt with within an hour in an English court of law.

Finally, let me come to a big cancer in our justice system: the thankfully small number of criminals practising as lawyers and who bring a terrible shame and dishonour to the profession.

The Chief Justice should see to it that the barristers and attorneys keep the decorum not only in Court but also on social media. You only need to have a brief look at the comments of two of your barristers behaving like cheap hoodlums and street corner thugs on my page recently. I blocked both of them for one reason only: by being blocked, they cannot delete their nasty, threatening words not just to me but to others too, and everyone can see the type of unsavoury characters calling themselves 'learned'.

I get the impression that those 2 so called lawyers have forgotten that threat is a criminal offence....Their criminal demeanour and behaviour must not be allowed to infect new entrants to the profession. Consequently, the selection of Pupil Masters should be far more stringent, and only counsels with impeccable records and the proper set up should act as pupil masters as soon as possible . I am sure you will agree with me that one Samad Laurel and Ashley Hardy buffoonish but dangerous team is more than enough for any justice system to deal with.

It is pointless asking the Bar Council or the Attorney General to instigate any disciplinary proceedings against those two, since they adamantly want to stick to their 3 wise monkeys role of never seeing, hearing , or saying anything worthwhile...even when everyone, including Casernes and ICAC, know of their role in the active collusion with a bunch of renegade ADSU officers in the theft of Rs 9.5 millions.

Your Lordship, I hope you will consider this letter in the vein it was sent to you: an honest desire to at least make people discuss the very many reforms that our justice system is crying for. If you think, like some disreputable zourlanus often accuse me of , that I am being a 'donneur de lessons", then that indeed would be sad.
And we can then continue to drift along the sea of mediocrity that is in danger of engulfing our whole justice system...and that  would be a real pity.

Mardi 14 Juillet 2020

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