Belize - Belize News - Channel5Belize.com - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Featured, Trials » Bar President Files Claim Against Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin
Nov 22, 2019

Bar President Files Claim Against Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin

In an unprecedented move, Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl-Lyn Vidal, in her capacity as president of the Bar Association, has lodged a claim against Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin, following her removal as a member of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission.  On October twenty-second, attorney Andrew Marshalleck filed a claim on Vidal’s behalf in which he is challenging her exclusion from the JLSC.  By law, the commission is made up of the Chief Justice, who presides as chairman.  It is also comprised of the chair of the Public Services Commission, the president of the Bar Association, as well as the Solicitor General.  The contention is that in the absence of the bar representative, the appointments of other judicial officers have been questionable since it appears that there is an incestuous relationship between the executive and the judiciary.  Earlier today, News Five spoke with attorney Andrew Marshalleck.

 

Andrew Marshalleck

Andrew Marshalleck, Attorney, Bar Association

“The claim concerns the right of the president of the bar to be a member of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission.  The Judicial and Legal Services Commission is the commission charged by the constitution with responsibility to make and govern judicial appointments.  We’re talking high court judges, we’re talking magistrates, we’re talking registry staff.  All of those appointments come under the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, even the D.P.P.’s appointment.  The constitution provides that the commission is to be comprised of the Chief Justice, who also sits as chairman, the chairman of the Public Services Commission, the Solicitor General and the President of the Bar.  So it’s a four person commission.  Well since about a year and a half ago, after Mrs. Cheryl-Lyn Vidal became president of the bar, the chairman took issue with her sitting on the commission because he took the view that as Director of Public Prosecutions she was a public officer and was disqualified from sitting on the commission.  We’ve reviewed the legal position and find that argument simply untenable and so we challenged, since a year and a half ago, he’s refused to let us sit in the meetings.  They invited her to the first meeting and then asked her to withdraw after some time and told her that she wasn’t qualified.  An opinion was later had from the Solicitor General, who is also a member of the committee, to support the view that she is disqualified.  So since that time the bar hasn’t had any representation on these judicial appointments which are handled by the commission.”


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

Advertise Here

Comments are closed