Magistrate Yaw is often quite strict in court
Stabroek News
January 23, 2002

Dear Editor,

Magistrate Fitzgerald Yaw, a few months ago, found a man guilty of causing death by dangerous driving and fined the man a relatively small sum. There was a minor public outcry.

A few days ago the two young men whose reckless driving resulted in the death of two poor young men, also got off lightly one set free and the other fined $75,000 compliments of Fitzgerald Yaw. Very, very strange indeed.

Strange because Magistrate Yaw has earned a reputation of being very tough (I normally say unreasonable) on traffic offenders (especially minor ones) who appear before him. Ask persons who have gone into his courtroom Mr Yaw acts as prosecutor and magistrate. The police prosecutor would stand and read out the case then calmly sit smiling, Mr Yaw then takes over and immediately starts terrorising and insulting the accused (for him the police are always right) then he goes on to hand down harsh sentences. I witnessed persons charged for blowing horns (in the restricted areas) fined $5,000, motorcyclists charged for riding with expired provisional licences and road service licences fined $10,000, car drivers charged with bad parking fined $15,000, and I have heard numerous other cases. This magistrate also prolongs your agony by putting off a case which could have been concluded on the accused's first appearance.

How all of a sudden in these two cases has Mr Yaw softened up? I trust that the chancellor would investigate.

Before I close I would like to ask a few questions:

1. Isn't there some protocol/law in place that forbids a magistrate from being in frequent contact with lawyers that appear before him?

2. Is there a system in place to monitor the conduct of magistrates?

Yours faithfully,

Trevor Charles