Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 22nd 2013 Contents A11
September 22, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
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Mr Raphael, go on any day at the Port-of-Spain
magistrates court, after lunch, and tell me how many
magistrates are actually sitting.
You mean that system where magistrates work
half-day still obtains?
Yes. In fact most times they come in, adjourn the
list...Couva for instance, I am not afraid to say it.
Chief Justice Ivor Archie should go wherever a certain
magistrate sits—I wouldn’t call his name publicly—
and look at the case load for that magistrate. Look
at the productivity of those magistrates and, of course,
if people are prepared to plead guilty, that magistrate
will deal with it.
But trial, no... Everything is an adjournment. I just
used that magistrate as an example, but there are
magistrates who for some reason just don’t want to
work, and there are others who work extremely hard.
They adopt the culture of some public servants,
who just report for duty simply for the salary?
Yes. The chief magistrate and some other mag-
istrates in the city, they work extremely hard, they
work for most of the day, while others simply are
content to just review the list.
The Chief Justice also spoke about doing away
with the jury system?
(Vigorously shaking his head in the negative) I
totally disagree with that.
The question is obviously why?
Why I disagree with it?
You should give the ordinary man a chance to par-
ticipate in the criminal justice system because it
doesn’t waste judicial time, as that is what we are
The argument for scrapping this system is that it
wastes court time. That is not true, and those who
don’t know might believe it.
Let me tell you how time is wasted in court. When
you pick the jury and the trial starts, all of a sudden
the prosecutor didn’t know that his main witness is
From Page A10
from bad management’
A group of men play small-goal football on E Street Extension, Fanny Village, Point Fortin, on Thursday evening. This recreation seems
to be less practiced in many areas. PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
out of the country, or that two other critical
witnesses cannot be found. Also he wants
to lead evidence of bad character, he has to
make application for fresh evidence, and
he has to make applications for hearsay evi-
dence to be admitted.
What’s the point?
All of this should have been done before
the trial. So all of a sudden he realises he
has all these applications to make which
cannot be made in the presence of the jury,
and they take a period of days.
So when you have all these applications
being made, whose fault is it, the jury’s or
What I agree with is that you shouldn’t
have a jury trial for all matters. You don’t
need to have it for the simple possession
If you have such simple answers to deal-
ing with issues which bug the criminal
justice system, why isn’t it that easy to
(Cupping the right side of his chin and
cheek) Your guess is as good as mine,
because some of the ideas I have, they know
of and some would be common sense. Every
year you would hear about talk shops, panel
sessions and how we should change things...
but they have never changed it.
I heard you yesterday morning on tel-
evision making some disparaging remarks
No. Not all. That is a wrong interpretation
of what I said...
Didn’t you say they were afraid to make
What I said was that they are afraid of
the scrutiny of the Court of Appeal...
So they are reluctant to deliver timely
They simply want to get it (judgements)
right, and they exercise an extreme amount
What you need to realise is that when
you make a mistake, it doesn’t mean you
It simply means that three other more
experienced judges have a different view,
and even in the Court of Appeal a lot of
the time they get it wrong and the Privy
Council have to correct them.
Because of this position of getting it
right the first time, aren’t the judges part
of the problem?
They are part of the problem, but...
Mr Sturge, are you sure you don’t want
to reconsider that response?
(Unhesitatingly) No. I wouldn’t. We are
all part of the problem; the lawyers, including
myself, the prosecutors, I wouldn’t lie. In
most cases my closing speeches are three
or four days, I would also cross-examine
witnesses three or five days for most cases,
and I have a colleague who cross-examines
witnesses for 19 days. But we do it effec-
Perception they say is reality even
though I do not subscribe to that maxim.
But isn’t there one justice system for the
rich and another for the poor clients?
That is why you should have jurors,
because if you look at cases like Brad Boyce—
never mind former judge Herbert Volney
saying he made a mistake—you do have a
number of cases where people of a certain
ilk do not face justice.
And if they don’t, then there is a per-
ception that the system works for them and
it doesn’t work for the ordinary man, and
I am certain that if Brad Boyce had been
sent to the jury he would have been con-
Finally, Mr Sturge, what’s your prognosis
for the future of the justice system?
I think at present we are going nowhere
fast, and we have to make certain changes
now rather than later.
I think we have a
management at the
administrative level. I
am not questioning the
competence of the
judicial officers in terms
of their ability to do
judicial work, and I think
the judiciary is suffering
from bad management.
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