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CCJ Corner seeks to educate the regional public

CCJ Corner seeks to  educate the regional public

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The “CCJ Corner” series, published in SEARCHLIGHT and several other newspapers around the region, seeks to inform readers of the judgments of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in language that is easily understood by the average newspaper reader.{{more}}

Justice Adrian Saunders, who sits on the CCJ, told SEARCHLIGHT in an email earlier this week, that the hope is that the CCJ Corner would serve as a means of educating the regional public.

“The programme also satisfies the court’s duty of accountability particularly to the people of those States from which the case in question originates. In relation to those States, like SVG, who do not yet send us their appeals, the aim is for the public to get a flavour of the jurisprudence the court is building up,” he said.

Last week, SEARCHLIGHT published an article in the series entitled “Confessions allowed: Julian Francis v the Queen [2009] CCJ (AJ)”. The Julian Francis in that case is not Senator Julian Francis, who is Minister of Transport and Works in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

However, Senator Francis told SEARCHLIGHT on Monday that since the publication of the article on September 27, he had received calls from many people expressing concern about the article’s contents and purpose.

Justice Saunders, a national of St Vincent and the Grenadines, explained that the articles in the series are not prepared by the court or its judges.

“They are done by law students throughout the region and sent back to the court’s judicial assistants who simply arrange for them to be published,” he said.

“The CCJ does not yet accept cases from St Vincent and the Grenadines and, in any event, as a final appellate court a case would only reach the CCJ if it first was heard by the local trial and Appeal Courts. I am a little surprised therefore that an issue has arisen here because any discerning reader would know that. The case in question was a case from Barbados in which in 2009 the defendant had been sentenced to a six year term of imprisonment that he was serving. Vincentians would know that Senator Francis has been a serving Minister of government during that time.

“The Court naturally regrets any embarrassment caused. It was not the intention of our law students to cause same as they could not reasonably have been foreseen this,” Justice Saunders said.

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