When Prosecutors Ignore the Legal-Moral Balance in the Practice of Law


Claude Gerald

Release Date

Monday, July 16, 2018


Prosecutors on Montserrat are inherently off mark. They need to understand that justice is founded on moral integrity and truth and that only big minds - not toddling practitioners - can usher in such. Outside that framework they will lead the Crown’s business into a filthy mud bath of corruption.

Instructively the Vincentian Adrian Saunders was recently nominated to the office of President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), the equivalent of the Privy Council in a Caribbean context. Outgoing president Sir Dennis Byron remarked: Adrian Saunders is a person of strong moral values, good leadership credentials, and outstanding legal acumen. He is tempered by things that promote the Caribbean as a nation in a globalized world.

Such attributes suggest that if an officer of a court possesses primitive moralities akin to a proverbial pig, he can find coexistence within a palace of justice unattractive.

Justice Saunders’s qualities must come from good breeding of a home and societal origin. Law schools attempt to address these qualities in ethic courses to adults, set in their ways, with questionable impact. Training in law is not an end itself but simply a tool to render a moral expression.

Yours truly is wedded to things that uplift Montserrat just as Adrian Saunders is to applying the twin virtues of law and morality to a Caribbean culture.

Director of Public Prosecutions, Oris Sullivan a former student of mine - must - without pomp and cheek begin to assess his core personality and make adjustments if probable, given his conditioning years on planet earth.

This former policeman, styles himself variously as the ‘Minister of Justice’ on Montserrat. Keen observers may find that designation galling and obnoxious since - hogs must froth to make sense – in their world only.

He seems to be so caught up with himself and harbors an exaggerated sense of self-importance, which impacts negatively on his work. Examining it, one concludes that his cases are cherry picked, not on legal principles but on the petty and the trivial, wasting resources in noted ones (more on those later). Since he allegedly gossips so much, he is predictable and childishness envelops his persona. His general behavior, gives pause and can be viscerally troubling to the administration of justice on this island.

One wondered prior and continues to question, the thinking behind his ascension to an office, where the stakes are high for decisions on principles of justice and common decency. A person cannot now give what is never developed.

One must ask: Is this officer of the court temperamentally equipped to sustain the weight of expectations that his higher calling demands? Could he prove to be the strangling albatross that suffocates due process in prosecuting matters? Is maturity alien to his makeup? Could he rise to leave a legacy that climbs above a shameful standard of alleged unprofessional chatter in various places? Could he, as his calling may warrant, be able to give credible advice to a sleeping Integrity Commission if it rises from inertia? Could he appreciate the functional difference between an obligation to prosecute without any interest in the outcome or to engage in persecution based on external authority, spite or maliciousness? Should little boys be saddled with jobs of big men?

The forgettable former Governor Davis, obstinately rubbished the advice of the local Bar Association in 2014 on Sullivan. He ignored Sullivan’s historical propensity as a mischief making policeman, inclined to abuse authority in ‘making war’ with civilians in bombastic ways; having been notoriously implicated in the arrest of a senior official at the Bank of Montserrat in the early 2000s; substituting ‘suspicion and belief’ for ‘evidence’ in a deliberately humiliating arrest of the lady and costing the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of dollars to settle a landmark malicious prosecution case. His leopard spots are indelible and his existence as the DPP at best should be probationary.

His bar colleagues may have considered Oris Sullivan sustainably unfit on several grounds including his suspected ‘throw stone and hide hand’ approach in waging a campaign to wrestle the Director’s position from first holder, the experienced Ms. Kathy Anne Pykes of Jamaica. The Bar’s position was presumably that Sullivan’s demeanor is more puerile than professional - dangerous to even the appearance of justice – but perfect for devaluing his official standing, as when a sitting judge demanded a public apology for disparaging comments made on the judge or when the Court of Appeal chided him for his denials in the Keston Riley case and condemned his pointless attempt to retry attorney Warren Cassell, to pump his ego.

To compartmentalize ones innate qualities and to win the war of the base against the honorable, is a test, which challenges many players in courts of law. As touchstones and paragons of the virtuous, prosecutors must engender confidence in their roles. Therefore in a small community, watchful eyes are mandatory on the practicing ethos of the DPP’s office to ensure, all decisions are meritorious of resource use.

Until our society places substance (the ‘who’ of a person) over vanity (the ‘what’ of a person) and distinguishes between the certified and the qualified in job placements; until we know that the laws of morality are as fundamental as those of physics and mathematics, the integral values that hold the management of needed institutions of state shall disintegrate to our sustained detriment.

To expect something from nothing is to dwell in the paradise of fools.

Claude Gerald is a social commentator on Montserrat. Find him at ceegee15@hotmail.com

Editor's Note: The views reflected in this article do not reflect those of the Management and Editorial Directors here at MNI Media. The views are those of the author only. 

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