Former Magistrate speaks out on dismissal

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By Tracey Khan – Drakes

L – R: Attorney – at- Law, Nigel Hughes; former Magistrate Geeta Chandan – Edmond; Joel Edmond and James Bond.

[www.inewsguyana.com] –Former Magistrate Geeta Chandan-Edmond has made it clear that she was not dismissed by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) for any illegality or corruption as is being perceived by some sections of society.

This is in response to media reports that Chandan-Edmond was dismissed over allegations that her husband Joel Edmond, who is an Attorney-at-Law, appeared before her on numerous occasions which would be unethical.

At a press conference on Friday, February 27, in the presence of her Lawyer Nigel Hughes, the Former Magistrate and her husband cleared the air and denied the reports.

Chandan – Edmond was dismissed on February 20 – the same day she was scheduled to sentence Sam Hinds Jr. the son of Prime Minister Samuel Hinds.

“That has never been; I have said this before and I am repeating this, I have never appeared before my wife, the then Magistrate in any courts, but that has raised some concerns even in the Berbice area,” Mr Edmond told reporters.

Meanwhile, according to the former Magistrate, the allegations over which she was dismissed are old matters, which she justified to the JSC during her appearance on February 18.

She pointed out that her legal team, headed by Hughes, is not dealing with her matter politically but professionally and legally.

In this regard, Hughes said that the Judiciary is the most fundamental pillar of any society and as such, “the judiciary in Guyana has enjoyed a rather fragile reputation for protecting the rights of a citizens and an even more fragile reputation from being insulated from political influence.”

He believes the constitution of the JSC needs to be reviewed. “The society is going to be moved from crisis to crisis and the institution of the judiciary is the one that we least expect to be subject to allegations of any form of influence. The facts certainly speak for themselves…so I believe it’s a little bit more than passing strange that on the day that the high official’s son was soon to be sentenced, this Magistrate would have her service terminated for allegations that date back to 2009.”

Hughes also expressed concerns regarding the JSC’s highest ranking member who acted as both a complaint and an adjudicator of the allegations against the former Magistrate.

Meanwhile, Attorney-at-Law James Bond who was also present at the press conference believes that the adjudicators of the Former Magistrate’s matters have used it against her, “to make it appear as though Magistrate Chandan was somehow guilty of serious misconduct, this to my mind smacks disrespect to the office Magistrate Chandan holds and members of the judiciary especially Magistrates, who are the most hardest working persons in the fraternity, in the judiciary.”

He does not believe that any of the stated reasons are good enough to warrant a dismissal. Bond has since called on others in the legal fraternity to show solidarity to the dismissed Magistrate and stand against any injustice.

“I wish to remind all that Magistrate Chandan is not the only person who was dealt with a high and capricious hand by the powers that be in the judiciary…they have all suffered dismissals for reasons that did not warrant there dismissal and in a legal system in which we’re complaining that there is sloth, we’re complaining that there is not enough Magistrates, enough judges and yet we treat our own in this manner.”