The Judicial Service Commission has taken a decision to suspend controversial Magistrate Alex Moore, as
they investigate allegations of inappropriate behavior made by an East Coast Demerara businesswoman.
The decision to suspend the controversial Magistrate was taken yesterday and took immediate effect, leaving a huge void in the Magistracy, since Moore was described as one of the more efficient Magistrates.
The decision to suspend the Magistrate came as no real surprise, since he has been involved in a number of controversial rulings recently.
Moore, who has been dispensing a number of cases at the busy Sparendaam Magistrate’s Court, has been in the news recently for a few controversial matters he presided over.
A few days ago he was accused by the businesswoman of improper conduct during a hearing at the Sparendaam Magistrate’s Court on November 12.
The 47-year-old East Coast Demerara businesswoman, Seerojanie Singh has written to the Chancellor of the Judiciary (Ag), Justice Carl Singh over the “torment” she claimed to have endured at the hands of Magistrate Moore.
Singh who resides and operates her business at Le Ressouvenir, East Coast Demerara, told Kaieteur News that she feels very uncomfortable to appear before Moore, as his behaviour towards her earlier this month was one she found very disrespectful. She is hoping to have her case transferred to another court.
The mother of nine explained to this publication that on November 12 last, she promptly presented herself at the Sparendaam Magistrate’s Court where she was cross charged with a man for using abusive language.
When the charges were read to both parties and they pleaded not guilty, the matter took an unconventional turn.
According to the woman, the Magistrate asked both parties whether she had indeed used abusive language towards the man and they replied “No.” The Magistrate, she said, asked why she was charged and dismissed the case against her.
The businesswoman explained that at that point, Magistrate Moore was informed by the man through his lawyer, Gwendolyn Bristol, that it was her son who abused him. He then asked if she wanted to drop the matter but she declined stating that her son was not there at the time of the incident.
“Who tell me fuh tell the Magistrate suh? If you hear this Magistrate behaviour…In history me never hear one Magistrate behave suh,” the woman reported. Her husband was also there.
The mother of nine recapped that the Magistrate, with the file before him, confronted her about each of the alleged abusive words which stemmed from the encounter. She explained that he questioned both the defendants about the documented profanities and degrading demand for sexual favours.
“After he (Magistrate Moore) dismiss me case, is sheer ‘eff’ and ‘ess’ out he mouth. He asked the man and me, if he (the defendant) ask me to suck he c**k and b****r.” According to the woman, he again asked her if she wanted to drop the case, but she said no.
Things took another turn, Singh said. Afterwards, the Magistrate resorted to asking her who “told her to come to court” to which she responded “the police.”
“You know what the Magistrate turned and ask me? If the police tell me to take off my jewel and give them, if I would do that? Me seh ‘no sir’. He turn and tell the police (court orderly) to ask me to give him the jewel and he did. I seh ‘sir you didn’t buy this and give me so I won’t take it off and give you.”
“He (Magistrate) turn and ask me if the police ask me for sex me if me go give in and me nah answer right, because me shame and if you see how this man ah lash down on this desk for me to answer the question. Then me tell he no.”
The businesswoman went on to say “How he could ask me that? He tell the police to turn and ask me and the police turn and ask me. Me nah answer the police right and if you see how this man behave and then I turn and tell the police ‘no’.”
“Then he said that if I can’t drop the case, he gun prosecute me the next calling. Why he gun prosecute me? Wha me do? Me nah go open me mouth and answer this man, just say ‘no’ and ‘yes’. The whole courtroom did full,” she said.
According to the woman and her husband, the court was packed with civilians, other lawyers and police ranks.
The businesswoman explained to this publication that the Magistrate’s behaviour that day is the reason she approached the Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General, Anil Nandlall and wrote to the Chancellor of the Judiciary as well as Ombudsman, Justice Winston Moore.
Magistrate Moore also featured prominently in the news a few weeks ago when he handed down an unprecedented suspended five year sentence to a man who pleaded guilty to trafficking in more than 60 kilograms of cocaine worth $300M.
The man, Leonard Bacchus was also given a slap on the wrist suspended sentence of two years for being in unlawful possession of 125, 12-guade cartridges and 115, .32 rounds of ammunition, which also stemmed from the raid on his block 20 Enmore/Haslington Housing Scheme, East Coast Demerara home on August 16, 2001.
The Magistrate’s decision highlighted the disparity in sentencing, where other sections of society are sentenced to draconian time in prison for far lesser amounts of cocaine or offences.
The Director of Public Prosecutions has signaled her decision to appeal Magistrate Moore’s sentence, since there is no provision in the laws of Guyana for non-custodial sentence for persons found guilty of drug trafficking.
The Magistrate reportedly defended his decision, by pointing to the length of time and resources the defendant expended on the case which took three years to be completed.
However, his decision did not go down well with President of the Guyana Bar Association Ronald Burch-Smith, who described it as highly unusual.
“It is highly unusual. I don’t know what he heard or what the situation is exactly, but in the normal course of things, this (the suspended sentence) would not happen.”
“The section specifies and would have at least made way for some jail time and the fine is mandatory – here the sentence is highly unusual…Mr. Moore seems to be breaking new ground here,” the Attorney-at-Law commented.
Moore’s suspension is indefinite since he will be afforded a Hearing with the Judicial Service Commission.
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