It would appear that an apology from attorney Andrew Pilgrim, QC, is not enough to persuade Magistrate Graveney Bannister to put to bed an angry outburst in court last month by the prominent lawyer, which ended with an expletive.
Bannister has written to the Disciplinary Committee of the Bar Association of Barbados recommending disciplinary action against Pilgrim, who lost his composure on April 27 after the magistrate apparently reversed his own decision to dismiss a case against one of Pilgrim’s clients if the prosecution were not ready to proceed.
The matter before the court at the time involved 31-year-old Pedro Burgess, of Baycroft New Road, Bridge Road, St Michael, who was alleged to have entered the homes several women between November 13, 2017 and March 13 this year, with intent to commit theft and indecent assault.
In a four-page document filed this week the civil officer alleges that on April 27, 2018 at the District ‘A’ Traffic Court, Pilgrim displayed “atrocious, degrading and contemptuous behaviour with a number of loud offensive and insulting words” to Bannister and the police in full view of the public.
At issue was a decision by the magistrate to adjourn the six-week-old matter, instead of dismissing it as he had previously threatened, based on the fact that the prosecution advised during the hearing that the file was with the Commissioner of Police.
Bannister had said in a previous sitting that he would dismiss the case if the files were not ready for the April 27 hearing.
Pilgrim took objection to the decision, and the matter soon deteriorated into a shouting match, during which Bannister threatened to throw the lawyer out of the court if he did not calm down.
“Well do that nuh. If you are man enough come out here and order it. You think that someone out here afraid of you? Think a-f*****g-gain,” Pilgrim responded, to the shock of everyone in the courtroom.
The attorney later apologized to Bannister, and he later told Barbados TODAY the magistrate had accepted his apology.
He also said he was wrong “to carry on that way”, while stressing he had “no excuses” for his behaviour.
However, despite accepting the apology, Bannister is not about to allow the well-known lawyer’s action to go unpunished and wants the Bar Association to take action against Pilgrim.
The affidavit which he filed has been making the rounds on social media, much to the chagrin of a suspicious Pilgrim.
“I am waiting to see if this is a false document being circulated by persons unknown or if it is being circulated by the magistrate or the Bar Association. Right now I don’t know. I could only imagine that the magistrate could have given it to somebody or the Bar Association could have given it to somebody because those are the only two persons that could have had copies of the document,” Pilgrim said.
“I would prefer that if there is disciplinary proceeding against me that I hear about it before the general public [does]. I only know about it because a friend sent it to me last night. I would prefer that if this to be dealt with by way of trial, which could affect my career and my livelihood, that I would be served before I see it in the social media,” he stressed.
However, while stating the document making the rounds on social media appeared to be a copy of the affidavit which he signed and subsequently submitted to Bar Association, Bannister told Barbados TODAY he had no idea how it got into the hands of the public.
“My lawyer filed the affidavit yesterday but I don’t know how it got in the public domain. I can’t speak to that. Social media is something else. I can tell you I didn’t put it in the public domain. I saw it online this morning but I can tell you that I had not even retained a copy [when it was filed],” Bannister said.
Barbados TODAY contacted Bar Association President Liesel Weekes, who directed queries to head of the disciplinary committee Rita Evans. However, efforts to reach Evans were unsuccessful up until the time of publication.