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Shift for the magistrates


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Shift for the magistrates

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A major shake-up is taking place among magistrates.
Two of the island’s well known and vocal judicial officers are among seven being shifted from the City courts to rural areas.
The changes, which will affect courts from St James to St Philip, take effect from February 1.
Christopher Birch, who has a reputation as a no-nonsense magistrate, will no longer sit in the Bridgetown Traffic Court where he gained a reputation for dealing with some of the worst traffic offenders, including the unruly minibus drivers and conductors. Magistrate Birch is heading to the District “C” Magistrates’ Court in Station Hill, St Philip.
Meanwhile, his counterpart Magistrate Pamela Beckles, who came to prominence in the neighbouring Criminal Court No. 2 within the Bridgetown Magistrates’ Court complex, and is known for her willingness to give first offenders a second chance, is moving to the Oistins Magistrates’ Court. Magistrate Beckles has been on the bench for more than ten years.
Special Court
Her place in that court is being taken by former prosecutor-turned-magistrate Deborah Holder, who had a stint presiding over the Special Court that sat at Glendairy Prisons and is currently sitting in the District “C” jurisdiction.
Another former prosecutor, Magistrate Douglas Frederick, is moving from the District “D” Magistrates’ Court (St Thomas) to the Bridgetown Traffic Court.
Moving over to District “D” from Holetown is Magistrate Ian Weekes, while Magistrate Barbara Cooke-Alleyne will move from the Civil Court (St Matthias) to Holetown. Magistrate Michelle Weekes who sits in the Oistins Court is to replace Cooke-Alleyne in the Civil Court.
Among the three remaining magistrates who are untouched by the shifts are Chief Magistrate Clyde Nicholls who will remain in the Criminal Court No.1 where he has presided for more than ten years.
Magistrate Faith Marshall-Harris, the islandwide coroner and who presides over juvenile matters will continue in those duties.
The changes will also not affect Magistrate Robert Simmons who sits in the District “B” Magistrates’ Court (St George). (AC)

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