AG cautions legal bodies and media
Posted: Sunday, May 14, 2006
The following statement was issued yesterday by Attorney General John Jeremie:
The Honourable Attorney General notes with concern statements being issued by umbrella organisations of the legal fraternity on the current issue involving the Chief Justice and the Chief Magistrate, which either misrepresent the facts in the public domain or are being made without any attempt to fairly represent all the issues involved.
The statement issued by the Council of the Law Association on Wednesday May 10, for example, was based entirely on a second-hand, hearsay newspaper report of the meeting between the Honourable Prime Minister and the Honourable Chief Justice, yet without attempting to verify its accuracy or to hear the other side, the Law Association went on to assume that the Prime Minister had acted illegally or unfairly.
This rush to judgement is unbecoming of learned attorneys who are all officers of the court. It should be noted that both the president of the Law Association, Mr Russel Martineau SC, and the President of the Criminal Bar Association, Mr Desmond Allum SC, are attorneys for the Chief Justice.
What is even more disturbing is that neither the Council of the Law Association nor the Criminal Bar Association, which has also rushed out a similar statement criticising the Honourable Chief Magistrate for reporting a suspicious transaction to the Honourable Attorney General (who has legal responsibility for anti-corruption investigations) has seen it fit to comment on the very grave threat to the country’s democracy and the rule of law, if the concerns raised by the Honourable Chief Magistrate about the behaviour of the Honourable Chief Justice turn out to be true.Much is being made of the fact that the Honourable Attorney General is a political appointee. It should be borne in mind that while this is true, by his very oath of office and as a member of the legal profession, the Honourable Attorney General has a sworn duty to uphold the Constitution and the law "without fear or favour, malice or ill-will."
It should also be noted that several attorneys-at-law, while members of the Bar, are also very much politically active and vocal despite whatever legal or professional positions they hold.
The Honourable Attorney General reiterates his position that these are sensitive matters and should be treated that way by the media, the public and the members of the Bar.
The Constitution mandates a process for treating with the issues that are now in the public domain and the Honourable Attorney General intends to ensure that the provisions of the Constitution are scrupulously followed and that all matters are conducted with transparency and integrity, at all times in the public interest.
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