Judges Who Act As Social Workers A Large Part Of Lawlessness In Jamaica: Must Follow Precedent.…

This is get­ting quite tire­some but as long as we have the abil­i­ty and the medi­um to speak out, even when our own par­tic­u­lar cir­cum­stances may not be imme­di­ate­ly threat­ened by what is going on, it behooves us to speak out.

Most of the Island’s laws were writ­ten and cod­i­fied long before the Island was uncer­e­mo­ni­ous­ly jet­ti­soned by Britain, )the process we Jamaicans call gain­ing Independence).
It is incon­ceiv­able to imag­ine that the puni­tive com­po­nents of laws passed in 1955 would have rel­e­vance or deter­rent effect in 2018.
Yet to some degree that is what obtains in Jamaica today. In fair­ness to the Legislature, some of the laws have been amend­ed and new ones have been passed. Missing from the new laws and the updates done to the old ones, how­ev­er, are obvi­ous indi­ca­tors that the leg­is­la­ture rec­og­nizes the seri­ous­ness of crime in the coun­try.

As such the Independent Judiciary has tak­en it onto itself to deter­mine who goes to jail, who spend time in prison after con­vic­tions and guilty pleas [regard­less of their crimes] if at all.
The bedrock of the com­mon law sys­tem is the doc­trine of stare deci­sis (“let the deci­sion stand”). The doc­trine has two limbs. First, the courts are oblig­ed to fol­low the deci­sions and rul­ings in pre­vi­ous­ly decid­ed cas­es, or prece­dents, where the facts and issues are sub­stan­tial­ly the same. The sec­ond limb of the doc­trine – and this is real­ly an exten­sion of the first – dic­tates that a low­er court can­not depart from the prece­dents set by a high­er court where the issue is essen­tial­ly the same. http://​www​.nyu​law​glob​al​.org/​g​l​o​b​a​l​e​x​/​J​A​M​A​I​C​A​.​h​tml.

A gen­er­al prin­ci­ple of the admin­is­tra­tion of jus­tice is that [jus­tice must not only be done it must also appear to be done] . This is a prin­ci­ple read­i­ly voiced by lawyers par­tic­u­lar­ly on the defense side ‚as well as judges on the bench.
That prin­ci­ple is used to blud­geon Police Officers even by untrained mem­bers of civ­il soci­ety. Yet when Judges over­step their legal respon­si­bil­i­ty and make a mock­ery of the dis­pen­sa­tion of jus­tice every­one is silent except the police of course.

When there is no equi­ty, or even a more under­stand­able com­mon­sense pat­tern of sen­tenc­ing, or even in the grant­i­ng of bail, it erodes the con­fi­dence of the peo­ple in the sys­tem’s abil­i­ty to pro­tect them.
As we have seen in our coun­try the prac­tice of mob killing has been on the rise over the years and there is a gen­er­al silence at this emerg­ing and expand­ing phe­nom­e­non.

While every­one’s atten­tions are focused on the alle­ga­tions of police mis­con­duct the dan­ger­ous epi­dem­ic of mob killings have gone on with­out the appro­pri­ate out­cry it deserves. Despite the well-worn prac­tice of blam­ing the police for all of the fail­ings of the jus­tice sys­tem, the dan­ger­ous phe­nom­e­non of mob killings can­not log­i­cal­ly be placed at the feet of the police, although some will cer­tain­ly try.

Recent com­plaints of Judges let­ting seri­ous felons off with slaps on the wrist was long over­due. Nevertheless, like every­one else, judges have a right to have their side of the sto­ry heard.
The expla­na­tion giv­en by one high court judge gives much more cre­dence to my per­son­al call to cod­i­fy into law the penal­ties for cer­tain cat­e­gories of crime.

Since far too many judges under­stand the term ]Independent judi­cia­ry] to mean the right to admon­ish and dis­charge crim­i­nals caught with guns and ammu­ni­tion, then the leg­is­la­ture must take that option away from them.
When they take it upon them­selves to sim­ply throw out cas­es of assault on police offi­cers while hold­ing police offi­cers crim­i­nal­ly cul­pa­ble for using force to effect law­ful arrests there is a prob­lem.

Responding to claims of light sen­tences from the police cir­cuit court judge Justice Glen Brown said the fol­low­ing.
If a rich man’s son “com­mits a crime, they expect lenien­cy”, but if a poor man com­mits a crime, they expect him, (as the judge), “to send him to prison”.
Brown cit­ed pro­ba­tion reports as being vital in play­ing a role in the sen­tenc­ing process. He argues that when the reports are looked at in some cas­es, many of the young boys involved had been involved in sport­ing activ­i­ties, includ­ing foot­ball. “You have to res­cue them.”

At the risk of sound­ing cliché, “I rest my case”.
Those com­ments were made in response to accu­sa­tions that per­sons who were con­vict­ed for ille­gal pos­ses­sion of guns and ammu­ni­tion in St James and three oth­er west­ern parish­es last year, got off easy, as High Court judges opt­ed for sus­pend­ed sen­tences and fines as low as $70,000.

The police cit­ed hun­dreds of ver­i­fi­able case last year in which mur­der­ers and oth­er felons were released back onto the streets after they arrest­ed them. They sim­ply go out and kill or kill again.
The idea that judges see their roles as social work­ers instead of fol­low­ing prece­dent as is stip­u­lat­ed in paragraph(3) above demon­strates the need for manda­to­ry min­i­mum sen­tences for cer­tain cat­e­gories of crime, effec­tive­ly remov­ing that func­tion from the hands of judges.

The break­down of law and order and the gen­er­al law­less­ness in the coun­try is direct­ly attrib­ut­able to the lax, com­plic­it, cor­rupt, and incom­pe­tent jus­tice sys­tem led by the Islands judges who refuse to fol­low prece­dent.
Instead of fix­ing that prob­lem as police offi­cers have been demand­ing for decades[ a prob­lem I com­plained about over two decades ago while I was a serv­ing police offi­cer] they con­tin­ue on while blam­ing the police for being com­plic­it while ignor­ing this glar­ing prob­lem.

Call your polit­i­cal representative/​member of par­lia­ment and demand that judges respect prece­dent and obey our laws.
They have no author­i­ty to ignore the crimes com­mit­ted by crim­i­nals in order to do social work.
Demand seri­ous manda­to­ry min­i­mum sen­tences for gun crimes now.


The Honourable Mrs. Justice Zaila McCalla, O.J. Chief Justice

Supreme Court – Puisne Judges

The Honourable Mrs. Justice Carol Lawrence ‑Beswick – Senior Puisne Judge

The Honourable Mr. Justice B. Andrew Rattray

The Honourable Mr. Justice Courtney Daye

The Honourable Mr. Justice Bryan Sykes

The Honourable Miss Justice Jennifer Straw (Acting as Judge of Appeal)

The Honourable Mr. Justice Leighton Pusey

The Honourable Miss Justice Christine McDonald

The Honourable Mr. Justice Martin Gayle

The Honourable Mr. Justice Bertram Morrison

The Honourable Mr. Justice Glenworth Brown

The Honourable Mrs. Justice Sarah Thompson-James

The Honourable Mr. Justice David Fraser

The Honourable Miss Justice Carol Edwards

The Honourable Mr. Justice Kirk Anderson

The Honourable Mr. Justice Evan Brown

The Honourable Miss Justice Nicole Simmons

The Honourable Mr. Justice David Batts

The Honourable Mrs. Sharon George

The Honourable Mrs. Justice Vivene Harris

The Honourable Mr. Justice Kissock Laing

The Honourable Mrs. Justice Audre Lindo

The Honourable Mrs. Justice Cresencia Brown-Beckford

The Honourable Mrs. Justice Marcia Dunbar-Green

The Honourable Mrs. Justice Georgiana Fraser

The Honourable Mrs. Justice Lorna Shelly-Williams

The Honourable Mr. Justice Chester Stamp

The Honourable Mrs. Justice Vinette Graham-Allen

The Honourable Mrs. Justice Sonia Bertram-Linton

The Honourable Mr. Justice Dale Palmer

The Honourable Miss Justice Carolyn Tie

The Honourable Mrs. Justice Stephane Jackson-Haisley

The Honourable Mrs. Justice Sonya Wint-Blair

The Honourable Mrs. Justice Lisa Palmer-Hamilton

The Honourable Miss Justice Yvonne Brown

The Honourable Mrs. Andrea Pettigrew-Collins

The Honourable Miss Justice Calys Wiltshire

Acting Judges

The Honourable Miss Justice Judith Pusey (Ag.)

The Honourable Mrs. Justice Simone Wolfe-Reece (Ag.)

The Honourable Miss Justice Annmarie Nembhard (Ag.)


Miss Rosemarie Harris

Miss Pamela Mason (Ag.)

Miss Andrea Thomas (Ag.)

Mrs. Natalie Hart-Hines (Ag.)