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Bahamas raps 'destructive' attacks on judiciary

Thursday, January 18, 2018

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NASSAU, Bahamas (CMC) – Acting Chief Justice Stephen Isaacs says while criticism of judicial decisions is expected, uninformed “destructive” attacks on judicial officers, or on the judiciary, is not acceptable.

Speaking on judicial independence during the recent opening of the 2018 Legal Year, the acting chief justice said at its core, the concept means that judicial officers must be free from interference in the decision-making process.

“Judicial officers are even independent of each other, but naturally there are times when a collegiate effort is required on one legal issue or another. The job of a judicial officer is to interpret the law in any given case, and a conscious effort must be made to block out all extraneous noises.

“At the administrative level, the judiciary has its lif blood, funding, supplied by the executive. This arrangement is unavoidable since the purse strings of all government are properly controlled by the executive. The general liaison between the judiciary and the executive is the attorney general,” he said

The acting chief justice quoted an excerpt from former chief justice, Sir Hartman Longley's 2016 address to underline the effort that must be made to ensure the independence of the judiciary, and for the executive and the judiciary to nurture the delicate balance between the branches which make up the democracy.

“The judiciary is not a department of the Office of the Attorney General. It is an independent branch of Government headed by the chief justice, a fact that seems to escape some in the administration at times.”

He said that there have been “notorious” examples of uninformed “destructive” attacks on judicial officers and the judiciary during the past year.

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