Chief Justice Requests Meeting After Walkout

January 26, 2015

Following the walkout by some lawyers at Friday’s Special Court Sitting which marks the Opening of the Legal Year, Chief Justice Ian Kawaley said he “requested an urgent meeting with representatives of those members of the Criminal Defence Bar who left the courtroom” and he considers “their conduct to have been inappropriate.”

The walkout by some lawyers is understood to have been in protest over the re-appointment of Rory Field as Director of Public Prosecutions.  Mr. Field — a non-Bermudian — has held the position for over seven years, having formally taken over the role in 2007, and his contract extension is  set to run until the end of 2016.

Following Mr. Field’s re-appointment, a Cabinet Office spokesperson said, “After expressing every intention to appoint a Bermudian DPP in 2007, 2010 and 2013, it is most unfortunate that the process adopted by Government House appears unable to make those intentions a reality,” and  added that the Premier had “strongly expressed” his concern to the Governor and would raise the matter with the UK Minister responsible for the Overseas Territories.

Shadow Attorney-General Michael Scott also raised objections, saying:  “The reappointment of Rory Field is a slap in the face to not just the qualified, capable Bermudians who have been overlooked, but to everyone who believes that Bermudians should come first in jobs and opportunities in our own country.

Mr Scott added, “The PLP’s position is clear. There has been a lack of openness, accountability and transparency in this process and there must be justification by the Governor why qualified Bermudians are being denied the opportunity to fill this post.”

In response to Friday’s action at the Supreme Court, Governor George Ferguson said, “I firmly support the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Rory Field, as he begins two further years in the role. He and his able team in the Department have achieved and continue to achieve impressive results.

“As he set out at today’s special sitting of the Court, the Department’s record is excellent at home, respected internationally, and not least Bermudians throughout the Department have steadily achieved increasing seniority under his leadership. I wish him and his team well.”

In response to the action, Chief Justice Ian Kawaley said, “I have requested an urgent meeting with representatives of those members of the Criminal Defence Bar who left the courtroom as a group in the midst of Friday’s Special Sitting Ceremony.

“I consider their conduct to have been inappropriate and I wish to afford them an opportunity to explain their actions, which were a distraction.

“The purpose of the Special Sitting was for the Judiciary and its main legal stakeholders to share with the public a review of the work of the courts over the last year and the commitments for the year ahead.”

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Comments (11)

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  1. aceboy says:

    An insult to Bermudians is the case in which a Bermuda lawyer is being charged with an attempt to pervert the course of justice in a gang related matter.

    To allow the DPP to be a political appointment will mean more cover ups and cases like this.

    • Cranberry says:

      Actually an insult to all Bermudians is allowing the members of the previous administration’s and their atrocious record to go by completely unpunished…

  2. just wondering says:

    wow – almost exactly what I commented on in an earlier article on this issue on this site – the special sitting was an opportunity for the bench and the bar to set out their accomplishments, goals and concerns as a whole – the members of the bar were invited and a number chose to abuse that invitation. By analogy if I invite you to my house for dinner I expect you to show up and behave in a civilized manner – if you don’t like one of those coming to dinner then don’t come at all!!

  3. Truth is killin' me... says:

    Egos and money. If you don’t like the rules…quit your job. Enough said!

  4. Terry says:

    Two good posts.

  5. watching says:

    It may have been “distasteful” but so is the manner in with the Governor is behaving when it comes to a qualified Bermudian.

  6. Sparrow says:

    Read between the lines people… the defense counsel are upset because they don’t have the DPPs ear. Good appointment, may he get another extension.

    • To thine own self be true.... says:

      Clearly you are not one who has invested in the education of your offspring to speak like that. Shame on you.

  7. Charlly X says:

    Ouch !! The only reason I see non-appointment of a Bermudian is
    1 we are under British Rule
    2 it would be a step closer to independence
    3MONEY !!!

    • Truth Teller says:

      I am deeply surprised that the Bermuda tea party style whites and the blacks who mimic them who routinely plague this site are not saying things like: “why did the Chief Justice have to bring race into it” or accuse him of being a racist for talking about racial disparity.

      It would be nice if the same lawyers who walked out- justifiably I might add – would also from time to time address publicly the same issues as the Chief did.

      But I guess they are all to consumed in earning their six figure salaries and maneuvering themselves into the next high powered legal position.

      And the fact that most of their clients are black or that when one visits the prisons or courts one is always confronted by a sea of black faces (usually men) appears to be something that they do not seem to concerned about. It is what it is right?

      One wonders where is their sense of social and racial justice on this fundamental issue?

  8. Cranberry says:

    And still Ms Clarke remains silent…