MAGISTRATE SEALES UNDER INVESTIGATION

An attempt is being made by some members of the legal profession along with bus drivers to have sitting Magistrate Jerry Seales removed from the Magistracy.

Magistrate Jerry Seales – being investigated by JLCS

THE NEW TODAY has reliable information that the Judicial & Legal Services Commission (JLSC) has launched an investigation into Seales following a number of complaints levelled against him.

According to a well-placed legal source, the commission has recruited a retired Court of Appeal judge from neighbouring Trinidad & Tobago to look into the barrage of legal complaints against Seales who is currently in charge of the Traffic Court in the city.

He said the judicial officer spent one week in Grenada earlier in the month holding sittings at the Mediation Centre on Scott Street to take evidence from persons who are at odds with Seales.

He identified one of the persons who appeared before the commission as Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Christopher Nelson who was not satisfied with Magistrate Seales’ handling of a matter involving a rape case brought by the State against Victoria, St. Mark resident, Curtis Baptiste.

The Magistrate is said to have dismissed the case during the Preliminary hearings in which late former Attorney-General, Lloyd Noel was representing Baptiste.

This newspaper understands that Nelson is unhappy with the failure of Seales to re-instate the rape case in keeping with a ruling from a higher court.

A source close to Seales said that he was no longer the sitting Magistrate in the jurisdiction when the appeal went in Nelson’s favour and that the new Magistrate should have done it.

Another attorney who appeared before the retired judge to take issue with Seales’ behaviour on the bench was Ruggles Ferguson of Ciboney Chambers.

In addition, a number of bus drivers appeared before the one-man commission set up by the JLSC to vent their frustration with some of the harsh sentences imposed on them by Seales in connection with traffic offences.

According to the source, Magistrate Seales was not required to appear before the commission but had despatched attorney-at-law, Ashley Bernadine to look after his interest in the proceedings against him.
Seales is said to have received a summons from the Office of the Supreme Court Registry asking him to attend to the Mediation Centre for the hearing of the complaints filed against him.

He reportedly contacted a female attorney to represent him but she was said to be unavailable
Seales then turned to Bernadine who visited the Mediation Centre but was told by the Commissioner that he was only taking evidence against persons who filed complaints from the Magistrate.

“I heard he (the commissioner) told Mr. Bernadine that Mr. Seales was not required to appear before him since he was taking evidence only from persons with complaints so there was no need for Mr. Bernadine to come before him on behalf of the Magistrate”, said the source.

The JLSC is the body responsible for the hiring and firing of judges and magistrates in the Eastern Caribbean court circuit.

Seales has built up a reputation as being tough on bus drivers who are known to be notorious when it comes to traffic offences on the island.

It is common knowledge that several bus drivers have in excess of over 100 infringements of the traffic law for the same offence.

THE NEW TODAY is not aware of the timeframe given to the retired Court of Appeal judge from Trinidad to submit his report for the Commission to determine the fate of Magistrate Seales.

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