Friday 17 January, 2020

Sir Clifford’s courtroom management should be replicated

Prime Minister of Barbados, the Rt. Hon. Freundel Stuart in parliament this morning.

Prime Minister of Barbados, the Rt. Hon. Freundel Stuart in parliament this morning.

Court is no laughing matter and under the late Sir Clifford Husbands there was no mistaking this fact, unlike in some courtrooms nowadays.

Following a recent incident, when an accused person was documented as laughing in court while being addressed by the presiding judge, today in his tribute to the late Governor General of Barbados, Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Freundel Stuart said that such would be a no-no when Sir Clifford was presiding.

“In Sir Clifford’s court there was no scope for frivolity, it was a very serious place, a very austere space. I have said on more than one occasion the courts of Sir William Douglas, Sir Clifford Husbands and Mr. Justice Sherman Moore were places where when you were there, you felt it was not even permissible to smile; very austere places, and you always kept reminded that the Courts of Law were serious places to be.”

Serving as Governor General for some 15 years with great distinction, Sir Clifford “carried himself very well”. He set very high standards for himself and he exacted the highest possible standards from others, “because he knew that he could lead by example”.

In the role of Court of Appeal Judge, he served with distinction and “courageously when it mattered”. If he did not agree with other members of the panel, he wrote lucid, very-well argued, and unique dissenting judgements to put his personal views on the record to contribute to the jurisprudence of the country and region.

As the Director of Public Prosecutions, he ran a tight ship.

Holding him in high esteem, the Prime Minister said that Sir Clifford was not one to give a witness a chance to refresh his or her memory as it relates to statements given to police previously, “His position was if you gave a statement to the police and you heard or you saw, you should remember it, but his role was not to help any witness to facilitate the guilt, the establishment of the guilt of any accused person. And I always found that very interesting. It’s a high tradition in the office of Director of Public Prosecutions, because you really not interested in securing a conviction. You’re interested in making sure that the facts are fairly laid-out so that the jury can make a decision that is fair and that does no injustice to accused persons.”

And he asserted that that was the kind of man Sir Clifford was, one who was about justice always.

“One has never left a court presided over by Sir Clifford Husbands with any sense that injustice was done. He always subscribed to the highest possible standards, was a stickler for punctuality, and for good behavior in court.”

“No one has never, I don’t think any accused or any other litigant has ever left the court of Sir Clifford Husbands feeling that any injustice was done. He was a fair and courageous dispenser of justice…” he assured.

The Prime Minister was paying tribute to the Former Governor General Sir Clifford Husbands in the House under the Resolution of Condolence. Sir Clifford passed away October 11, 2017 at his home at the age of 91.

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