Chief Magistrate cracks down on court touts

Stabroek News
June 25, 2003

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Acting Chief Magistrate, Juliet Holder-Allen has sounded a warning to touts to stay off the court’s premises.

The Chief Magistrate recently posted a sign in the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court compound cautioning touts about their activities within the court’s precincts.

The warning states, “Any person who carries out touting activities will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Any person who is assaulted or molested or in any way harassed by any other person must immediately make a report to the nearest police station.”

Touts hang around the court and solicit money from relatives of persons who are to appear or who have appeared before magistrates.

They collect money after promising relatives that they will ensure that certain things are done in relation to the case. Some of these touts hire clients for prominent lawyers and are then paid a commission.

The touts are often well dressed with some sporting white long- sleeved shirts, ties and carrying attaché cases as if they were themselves lawyers. They usually keep records of court dates and some are reportedly in possession of bail receipts. Persons have complained about their occasionally aggressive behaviour.

Additionally, the touts would have quarrels among themselves and have to be restrained by police officers since these sometimes turned into courtyard brawls.

The Chief Magistrate, in an invited comment, said she thought it was prudent that the sign be raised in the courtyard and added she was already seeing results.

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