Monday, 25 March 2019 12:43 GMT

Prosecutors to return to St Kitts-Nevis magistrate's court

(MENAFN - Caribbean News Now) By Caribbean News Now contributor

BASSETERRE, St Kitts — The suspension of prosecutorial services to St Kitts and Nevis Magistrate Donna Harris's court by the director of public prosecutions (DPP) Valston Graham has been lifted and normal court services were due to resume on Wednesday.

Graham and Harris met with acting Chief Magistrate Renold Benjamin and other senior legal officials on Tuesday after the DPP pulled all prosecutors from appearing in Harris's court on Monday until further notice

DPP Graham told WINN FM on Monday that his decision to pull his prosecutors, along with court orderlies, from the magistrate's court stemmed from an incident involving a crown counsel and Harris during a criminal hearing on Monday, when the magistrate ejected the crown counsel.

In giving reasons for his decision to recall his prosecution team from Harris's court, Graham made it clear he 'will never be an obstructionist to justice.'

'My job is the furtherance of the delivery of justice in this Federation,' said Graham, stating his decision was justified.

'I find it intolerable the behaviour of magistrate Harris. You cannot insult, ridicule and denigrate the prosecutors that appear before you and without justification. I have tolerated it long enough. I am not putting up with it anymore,' Graham said.

Harris, a sister of Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris, opted not to comment on the matter.

Following Tuesday's meeting, WINN FM spoke with DPP Graham about its outcome. He only confirmed that prosecutorial services to the magistrate's court will resume, adding that the DPP's Office would shortly be issuing an official statement on the matter.

On Tuesday, president of the St Kitts and Nevis Bar Association, Dahlia Joseph Rowe, confirmed that 'members of the legal profession have repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction with the manner, unbecoming of a magistrate, in which Magistrate (Donna) Harris, addresses and conducts herself towards lawyers appearing before her.'

Describing the incident that prompted Graham to pull his prosecutorial officers and orderlies from Harris's court as 'most unfortunate,' the Bar Association president said the occurrence raises serious issues which go to the heart of the administration of justice in St Kitts and Nevis.

'The Bar Association is satisfied that the occurrence is by no means an isolated one' and supported the decision of Graham to suspend prosecutorial services to Harris's court until the issues surrounding Harris's conduct on the bench have been satisfactorily addressed.

'The St Kitts and Nevis Bar Association wholeheartedly supports the DPP in his decision,' the Bar president said.


Prosecutors to return to St Kitts-Nevis magistrate's court

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