Wed | Sep 22, 2021

Judges must be independent

Published:Tuesday | February 16, 2010 | 12:00 AM


No! No! No! Minister Nelson have we forgotten the sacred bulwark upon which our democracy is founded - that there must always be a separation of powers between the Executive, the Legislature, and the Judiciary, the basic principle which differentiates a democracy from a dictatorship.

A call by the Minister of National Security Dwight Nelson, intended to reach the ears of the head of the Judiciary, flies in the face of all that is held sacrosanct by that principle, and, in any event, what was the anticipated outcome of that call? Should the learned chief justice then summon the relevant High Court judge and haul him or her over the coals - not so, sir, I can assure the minister that the question of bail is an area of the law which judges give their most anxious and studied attention, ever mindful of the obligation to dispense justice, the presumption of innocence and the facts and merit of each case.

Any judge appointed within our legal system, be it Resident Magistrate, of the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeal, has achieved that status by years of experience, long hours and proven merit and every decision they make is subject to review; and as outrageous as a particular decision may be considered by anyone, the answer is not, and can never be, for one limb of Government to berate another limb of the same Government ignoring the established avenues for redress.

I would therefore ask the Honourable Minister this question - would he find it acceptable to have a judge directing him how to conduct his ministerial duties at all, moreover, without access to all the relevant facts?

Hamilton and Craig