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DPP says Pusey is a good judge

Published:Tuesday | November 30, 2010 | 12:00 AM

SENIOR DIRECTOR of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Caroline Hay yesterday began an application in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court which is seeking to have Judith Pusey recuse herself as the sitting magistrate.

In a one-hour 40-minute submission before Pusey yesterday, Hay said aspects of the judge's handling of the matter would lead an informed observer to believe there is an apparent bias on her part.

"We are not saying that there is an actual intent that resides in the trial judge," Hay said in making the submission on behalf of DPP Paula Llewellyn.

Hay is to resume her application this afternoon, and already, lawyers representing Kern Spencer and Coleen Wright are hoping to get the opportunity to speak on the point.

"The defence wants justice to be done," Patrick Atkinson, Spencer's attorney, said.

The DPP is seeking to have Pusey removed from the case, claiming she has made statements which suggest she has prejudged the matter. In her submission yesterday, Hay said Pusey has been a good judge on the bench and the move was nothing personal.

"I know, and I am comfortably saying that Your Honour is a robust judge. It is what the reasonable man thinks," Hay said.

Hay rebuffed

But relations between both officers of the court was far from a Sunday-school stroll. Pusey rebuffed a suggestion from Hay that the affidavit submitted by the DPP as part of its claim has not been challenged, saying that the time has not yet arrived.

She also lashed Hay for her insistence on reading aspects of the submission that has been filed, saying the senior deputy director was playing to the gallery.

"You are addressing me, so please address me. If you want to address the public, go outside and do it. I am not going to tolerate this grandstanding," Pusey said.

The prosecution has blamed the magistrate's posture for the slow pace of the trial, arguing that it "effectively caused stay of the prosecution's case for a period of seven months and prevented it from proceeding".

"Considering the conduct of the trial judge, the fair-minded and informed observer would have a reasonable apprehension or suspicion of bias, and as such, public trust in the judicial process is under threat," the DPP stated in the court document.

Supreme Court judge Lloyd Hibbert last week dismissed the DPP's application on the basis that it was premature and ill-founded. Spencer and Wright are on trial for alleged wrongdoing associated with the Cuban light-bulb programme.