Lawyers Meet With Chief Justice After Walkout

January 29, 2015

Following the walkout by some lawyers during the Special Court Sitting last week, representatives of the Criminal Defence Bar said they met with Chief Justice Ian Kawaley and “both parties reaffirmed their shared commitment to promoting the efficient and collaborative operation of Bermuda’s Criminal Justice System in a spirit of mutual respect and understanding.”

The walkout by some lawyers was 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.

After the incident, the Chief Justice 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.”

A statement from a Criminal Defence Bar representative said, “Representatives of the Criminal Defence Bar met on Monday with the Honourable Chief Justice for discussions relating to the stance taken by the Criminal Defence Bar following H.E. the Governor’s decision to re-appoint Mr. Rory Field as the Director of Public Prosecutions for a further two years – following repeated, and well publicized, statements from Government House, over the last five or more years, indicating that a suitably qualified Bermudian would be selected to fill the post.

“In a constructive dialogue with the Honourable Chief Justice, both parties reaffirmed their shared commitment to promoting the efficient and collaborative operation of Bermuda’s Criminal Justice System in a spirit of mutual respect and understanding.

“In particular, representatives of the Criminal Defence Bar clearly stated that their actions were not intended to disrupt the Special Sitting and that their number remained at all times respectful to the members of the Judiciary present in Court for the Special Sitting. To the extent that any disruption did occur or was perceived to have occurred, this was regrettable. The Chief Justice was satisfied with this explanation.

“Friday’s action was not the first attempt by the Criminal Defence Bar to address the failure to appoint the qualified Bermudian to the post of D.P.P. In December 2013, we caused a delegation of the Bermuda Bar Council to request a meeting with H.E. Governor who directed the delegation to meet the Deputy Governor on 11 December 2013.”

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Comments (3)

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  1. Mockingjay says:

    Its about time Bermudians are taking a stand, decades late but I guess better late then never.

  2. fact check says:

    The whole point of the judiciary is independence – from policitics – from immigration from anythign but the law they are asked t provide an opinion on.

    It was shocking that those lawyers chose this venue to make their protest. Write a letter to the editor, go on the radio, go on lets talk etc. To walk out of court was the height of small man syndrome and showed a lack of class, respect and arrogance. Genuinlly surprised the Bar council does not look at disciplinary options here. I also note one of the lawyers who walked out has expats attorneys in his own firm – I wonder what they think of this?

  3. Alvin Williams says:

    That which stands on the walls of iniquity should be rented and crumble into dust.