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Nov 23, 2022

Attorney for C.I.B.L. Makes Application for Magistrate’s Recusal

Dean Barrow

As you heard Senior Counsel Smith say, former P.M. Dean Barrow made an application for Magistrate Deborah Rogers to recuse herself from the case. Barrow contended that Magistrate Rogers can no longer hear the matter because there is an appearance of bias. So, where does the bias arise from in Barrow’s view? Well, Smith is representing the attorney general in the Supreme Court matter. Barrow argues that by extension Smith is also representing Magistrate Rogers. He therefore asserts that the question of bias is provoked if the magistrate continues to hear the F.I.U.’s application, given the fact that Senior Counsel Smith is representing the F.I.U.


Dean Barrow, Attorney for C.I.B.L

“She is the respondent, the first respondent to our application. She is a party. The judicial review is basically against her. The attorney general is the second respondent. The attorney general is only joined, as I made clear to the court yesterday because of two things, one, we are also asking by way of the judicial review challenge we are seeking, for constitutional redress. We are saying that our client’s constitutional rights were violated. Once you bring in the question of our constitution the attorney general has to be there. But secondly, because the agent of the state that seized the money, the police, are functionaries of the attorney general, as is the magistrate, not a function of the attorney general per say, but she is a state agent operating for and in the service of Belize. So, the attorney general representing the Government of Belize is the entity that when we make this challenge against the magistrate it is the attorney general who has the responsibility of providing representation for the magistrate.  And so, that is what was in issue on Tuesday. When we got there on Monday and Mr. Smith asked for time he indicated as I recollect that he had just been retained over the weekend by the attorney general. He had been retained by the attorney general but to as it were represent all the agents of the state. That had to have included the magistrate. That being the case, that he represented the magistrate, defended the magistrate against the magistrate we brought, an application that arose out of this case that is before the magistrate. In my submission the magistrate can’t get the benefit of representation by Mr. Smith yesterday and then come back and sit today and allow her to hear Mr. Smith in his representation on one of the parties before her, when Mr. Smith has just represented her. Clearly the man on the street, the test of apparent bias is right away provoked.”

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