A prominent local attorney-at-law is fuming over what he sees as blatant time-wasting in the Barbados court system.
This morning a frustrated Andrew Pilgrim QC questioned the logic of scheduling cases for dates that the magistrate is on vacation, thereby adding to the slowdown of an already overwhelmed system.
Noting that that the issue is by no means new, Pilgrim, an outspoken and respected lawyer, expressed fresh annoyance in statement sent to Barbados TODAY.
The release came after his clients, businessman Arthur Charles Herbert and Christopher Glenn Rogers, had their matters adjourned until March 27, 2019 when they appeared at the No. 1 District ‘A’ Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday. Sitting Magistrate, Douglas Frederick is currently on vacation. Meanwhile, co-accused Walter O’ Neal Prescod, a sailor, will return to court on December 4, this year.
“Almost every media house yesterday referred to the fact that Charles Herbert, Chris Rogers and Walter Prescod will have to return to court for a new date and they will have to wait to have their matter resolved. I just wonder if anybody in Barbados is getting the bigger picture here that we adjourn matters to dates when we know there will be no hearing, deliberately wasting the time of litigants,” said Pilgrim, who argued that the occurrence only served to delay justice.
In his four-minute lament, the attorney contended that it was not only his clients whose time is being wasted but he predicted that for the remainder of the month close to 40 litigants per day will turn up to the court in question in vain.
“On every day probably during this month 40 or more Barbadians will turn up to the District ‘A’ Court Number one. There will be no magistrate and their time will be wasted for the entire day and their cases will not be advanced whether to be dismissed, tried or otherwise. It is a complete waste of our time that was avoidable,” he pointed out.
This morning Barbados TODAY contacted the office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court Barbara Cooke-Alleyne QC, but efforts to get a comment on the claims were unsuccessful.
However Pilgrim made it clear that there could be no reasonable excuse as vacations were planned in advance so therefore provisions should have been made.
“ Either those cases should have been adjourned to a period when the magistrate would have returned or they should be dealt with by a magistrate who was put on while he is not there. Is it so hard to work out when the magistrates are going to be on vacation so that you could have someone holding on for them? If that is the case, then adjourn the matters to a date outside of the vacation,” he stressed.
Pilgrim said “This is a whole month that is going to be a waste of time for 40 litigants everyday. This is time that Barbados does not have to give. We need our people to be productive instead of standing in a line outside of a court to get a date on which nothing will happen.”