President of the Jamaican Bar Association, Donovan Walker, is cautioning judges against taking ‘extreme’ action against lawyers while they carry out their duties.
He’s reacting to the detention last week of a lawyer, Charles Ganga-Singh, on the instruction of a Resident Magistrate in the Corporate Area Criminal Court.
Mr. Ganga-Singh was reportedly ordered detained by the magistrate as she felt he was ‘rude’ and out of order’ for asking her a particular question.
The Bar Association will be discussing the matter at it’s regular Council meeting this evening, after which it will outline its official position.
But the Association’s President, Donovan Walker, is cautioning judges and magistrates against detaining lawyers.
He believes that’s an ‘extreme’ use of power that can have a what he describes as a ‘detrimental effect’ on the independence of attorneys and the judiciary.
Mr. Walker says lawyers should not be fearful in carrying out their duties.
Mr. Gangasingh says he plans to take legal action against Resident Magistrate Simone Maddix for having him placed in police detention without just cause.
According to him, the magistrate ordered his detention after he asked why a witness statement she took from the investigating officer in a case he’s involved in, was missing from the file.
He says RM Maddix said she was not obligated to explain anything to him and his remarks were rude and out-of-order.
Mr. Ganga-Singh says the magistrate then asked him to apologise.
But he says he insisted that he had done nothing wrong so he had no reason to apologise.
He says the magistrate then ordered that he be locked up.
Mr. Ganga-Singh says he was initially detained for one hour, then for an additional two hours.