Hamilton moves to resume duties as magistrate

-after lodging JSC appeal

Omeyana Hamilton has appealed the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) decision to terminate her services as a magistrate and is expected to resume duties until the appeal is determined.

In a letter to the JSC, dated March 29, 2011, Hamilton’s attorney Nigel Hughes provided notice of the appeal and he also referred to Rule 78 of the JSC Rules 2010, which states: “Where the officer lodges an appeal with the High Court within the specified period, the penalty shall not take effect pending the determination of the appeal by the High Court.”

Stabroek News was informed that Hamilton reported to the acting Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry yesterday for assignment of her responsibilities as permanent magistrate and was later referred to the acting Chief Justice Ian Chang. However, Justice Chang was not in office.

The JSC, which is headed by acting Chancellor Carl Singh, terminated Hamilton’s services with effect from March 18 and she subsequently moved to the High Court, saying she was not afforded a fair hearing and or due process.

Hamilton is seeking various orders, including an order directed to the members of the JSC to show cause why a writ of certiorari should not be issued quashing their decision to terminate her services as a magistrate when she was issued no written warning of any inefficiency or misconduct as required by the JSC Rules 2010.

Hamilton was appointed a temporary magistrate in September 2009 and was assigned to Region 6. She was confirmed in September last year and in December placed at Court 6 in Georgetown with additional responsibilities at Bartica.

Hamilton observed in her supporting affidavit that the acting Chief Magistrate was informed of her inability to travel by way of speedboat, but she was still given all the details pertaining to the Bartica journey.

She also informed Justice BS Roy that it would be physically impossible for her to travel to Bartica by speedboat. Two days later, she was summoned to the Chief Magistrate’s chambers and then sent to the Chancellor’s office, where, when asked, she informed him also of her inability to travel by speedboat.

She said the Chancellor told her that by refusing to go by speedboat she was refusing to carry out instructions. He then invited Justice Roy to the meeting and in his presence told her that she had been a good magistrate up until then but was disrupting the system.

Hamilton had taken up her assignment at Bartica but she opted to travel by ferry. Prior to her dismissal, she had received a letter dated February 17 from the Chief Magistrate to the Chancellor complaining of her dissatisfaction with her performance at the Bartica court.

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