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Single judge in the Court of Appeal

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I have written many times about Court of Appeal matters where there are three judges, but not much was said about matters before a single judge. Last week, the case cited was a case before a single judge, Chief Justice Dame the Honourable Janice Pereira. This week, emphasis would be on another matter before a single judge and such explanation would be given to interlocutory matters and crown proceeding act. This matter is a case from Grenada, our neighbouring state, which deals with a matter involving three police officers against one other person.{{more}} The matter is an appeal GDAHCVAP 2013/002, Fletcher et al v Belfon, on an interlocutory matter that was dealt with by a single judge, based on written paper.

What is an interlocutory matter?

An interlocutory matter or interim matter is one that is dealt with before the substantial matter is heard. The order given could be appealed if the party is dissatisfied with the decision, but the appellant must first obtain leave of the court. CPR 2000 part 62 provides the procedure for initiating such matters before the court. A copy of the order appealed and the leave must be attached to the notice of appeal. There must also be a record of appeal with the judge’s notes and reasons for the decision.

A single judge deals with the matter. It is conducted by examining written documents; hence there are no appearances by the parties. The documents before the court would include the notice of appeal and submissions by both parties, among other documents.

The Facts

The facts are as follows: the defendant attended a dance with his girlfriend and mother. While he was there, he became involved in an altercation with one person who appeared drunk and was gyrating on his girlfriend. Later, the person returned with two others who joined in to beat him. After beating him they called for the transport and took him to the police station, where charges were laid against him. He was thrown into a cell and next morning he was hospitalized. At the time of the beating, the defendant did not know that his attackers were police officers.

Results

He was charged with assaulting a police officer in performing his duties, for resisting arrest and for causing harm to a police officer in execution of his duties. The first two offences were dismissed summarily, but he was convicted of causing harm to a police officer while performing his duties. He was, however, reprimanded and discharged. The Defendant brought a claim against the police officers and joined the Attorney General as their employer. The two defendants filed defences and the Attorney General applied to be removed as a party, claiming that the officers were not on duty when they acted. The master dealt with the matters and the officer’s defences were struck out, while the Attorney General’s application was refused. Judgment was entered for the defendant with damages to be assessed.

The Appeal

The Attorney General appealed. The appeal was dismissed and the defendant was awarded costs. The Commissioner of Police, in the charges, had asserted that the police officers were acting in execution of their duties, but in supporting the appeal, the Commissioner of Police denounced the officers.

Crown Proceeding Act.

The act is invoked in proceedings where persons act on behalf of the state. The Attorney General must be joined as a party in the proceedings.

Ada Johnson is a solicitor and barrister-at-law.

E-mail address is: [email protected]

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