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Bequia resident peeved over delays in cases before the court

Bequia resident peeved over delays in cases before the court

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A resident of Paget Farm Bequia has expressed frustration with the judicial system in civil matters dating back to 2011.{{more}}

According to Herbert Raguette, he has five unresolved civil matters before the court; in three of them, decisions have already been made in his favour.

He, however, has been waiting to collect judgment, and says that it appears that justice will never be served.

Raguette said that his problem is with the bailiffs who come to Bequia to serve subpoenas.

He says they come to Bequia and after a few hours, leave, although in his opinion, they have not made a thorough enough search to try to locate the individuals they are seeking.

He is also peeved at the numerous times he has had to return to court to have his matters heard.

“I have had cases repeatedly adjourned,” Raguette said.

He explained that this becomes a problem, especially when key witnesses get fed up and decide not to return to court.

“And this is the problem that I have been having,” he said.

“The first thing to be addressed is the bailiff addressing the summons; the other thing is that the cases ought to be heard on time, so you won’t have to be going to court all the time,” Raguette said.

This is an inconvenience, he reasoned, saying that he works as a security guard and has to miss a day’s pay to go to court, only to have the matter adjourned.

“The court should be more efficient,” he said.

Raguette further claimed that there has been no magistrate in Bequia for the past three months.

Chief Magistrate Sonya Young, however, refuted Raguette’s claim, saying that Magistrate Zoila Ellis-Browne presided over matters in Bequia as recently as February 2013.

Ellis-Browne, however, has been on sick leave, but is expected to return next month, Young said.

The Chief Magistrate also expressed disappointment that Raguette did not direct his complaint to her.

“If I find that it is something that I cannot handle, then I bring it to the attention of our Chief Justice, who is the one who is in that supervisory position over the magistrates,” Young said.

“He should have come to me with his complaint and allowed me to work on the matter and if he doesn’t get any satisfaction, then he can go to the press,” she continued.

The Chief Magistrate explained, however, that in the case where Raguette had been awarded judgment, it was his responsibility to enforce that judgment.

“You have to make it,” she said, as opposed to in a criminal matter where the state has brought a case against an individual.

“You have brought this claim, you have gotten the judgment, you have to enforce it,” Young explained.

If the time passes, then the plaintiff can apply for an enforcement of that judgment and then the court will interview the defendant for payment arrangements to be made.

When and if that commitment is breached, the person may go to prison; however, upon release, the debtor is still required to pay the debt, Young said. (DD)

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