Why is it not appropriate for the Commissioner of Police of Anguilla on his retirement to be appointed Magistrate of Anguilla?
It is unfortunate that I have to ask this question. The answer should be obvious to all. The answer is that such an appointment will tend to undermine public confidence in the administration of justice, and to bring the judiciary into contempt. Just in case there is one single person out there who does not see the point immediately, let me try my best to explain why this is so.
First of all, every police case brought in the Magistrate’s Court is brought in the name of the Commissioner of Police. The Magistrate’s Court deals with 95% of the criminal cases brought to court in any country. The trial of crime in Anguilla is for all practical purposes synonymous with the Magistrate’s Court. If I get a summons, it will be titled “Commissioner of Police versus Don Mitchell”. Then, every single investigation of a crime is conducted under the direction of the Commissioner of Police. He is the head of the police force.
In addition to the obvious conflicts of interest and questions of bias raised, there is the fundamental question of the separation of powers. At least since the time of the Duc de Montesquieu, the principle of separation of powers has been an intrinsic foundation of the rule of law. Ask any first year law student.
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And there you have it, Chief Justice SIR David Simmons,
Ask any first year law student why it was unethical for you as the former Attorney General and Acting Prime Minister of Barbados to accept an appointment as Chief Justice. It was a fundamental question of the separation of powers.
You knew that your appointment to Chief Justice undermined public confidence in the administration of justice, and brought the judiciary into contempt, but you wanted the honour and the job so bad that you took it. And Owen Arthur wanted influence over the courts of Barbados so bad that he appointed an old friend (one of the three mice) as Chief Justice.
Ask any first year law student, SIR.