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High Court judge knocks magistrate’s comment

Published: 
Wednesday, April 25, 2018

A magistrate may find himself in hot water over comments he made while presiding over an assault case in the Arima Magistrates Court.

This after a High Court judge said he found the comments had the potential to affect the public’s confidence in the administration of justice.

The issue arose after 25-year-old university student Giselle Samaroo, of Talparo, accused magistrate Brian Dabideen of making biased statements against her lawyer during her trial last year. Justice Frank Seepersad, in a 12-page ruling, found insufficient evidence to support Samaroo’s case and ordered her to pay the legal costs incurred by the State in defending the lawsuit.

He ruled that Samaroo had misrepresented Dabideen’s statements when she filed the case in November, last year, as the official transcripts revealed that his comments were not directed at her or any particular attorney as she alleged. Samaroo was charged with assaulting a relative and her case was heard in the Arima Magistrates Court.

The transcript was not available when Seepersad approved the lawsuit, late last year.

Dabideen may still face repercussions over the statements.

Seepersad said: “This court is concerned that it may be possible that the said words can be interpreted in such a way so as to suggest, inter alia, that the defendant will consider depriving a litigant of bail or would impose a custodial sentence, if he is of the view that the individual’s lawyer deliberately lies to the court.”

Seepersad also invited the parties to make submissions on any further orders which he could make but the T&T Guardian understands that Samaroo’s lawyers are already planning to refer the transcript of Dabideen’s controversial statements to the Judicial and Legal Service Commission (JLSC).

The commission is tasked with appointing judicial officers and investigating misconduct allegations made against them.

In her claim, Samaroo, who is pursuing her Bachelor of Education at the University of T&T (UTT), was claiming that the issue with Dabideen arose on October 6, last year, while he was presiding over her assault and malicious damage case at the Arima Magistrate’s Court.

Dabideen said: “Well, then, you are going to have a very warm time with me. You understand? You are not going to win any cases; your client all going to go to jail; you are not going to get any bail; I am going to keep you waiting in court whole day, you understand? All sorts of things I could employ.”

Samaroo was initially seeking an order compelling Dabideen to recuse himself from her case but Seepersad’s decision means that it can now resume before him.

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