Chief Magistrate challenges Bar Association representative
says his comments amounts to defamation of character
Kaieteur News
July 18, 2004

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Chief Magistrate Juliet Holder-Allen has issued a strong statement in response to Judicial Service Commission member and representative of the Guyana Bar Association representative, Bryn Pollard.

Mrs. Holder-Allen stated that she is concerned about the latter part of an article carried in the Kaieteur News of July 17, 2004, and captioned: “Chief Magistrate peeved at apparent slight.”

She added that the contents amount to defamation of her character.

The last 2 paragraphs of the article read: “According to Ramjattan, the Bar’s representative on the commission, Mr. Bryn Pollard, had indicated that the Judicial Service Commission takes a host of things into consideration before a selection is determined.

“The criteria are expertise, experience, seniority, the ability to write judgments and to grapple with the concepts and principles of law, and how to apply them to actual situations before the court.”

The Chief Magistrate believes that this position by Mr. Pollard, in the absence of promotional prospects afforded to her, is that after 18 years of being a lawyer, she is still unable to fulfill these requirements.

“I would like to test Mr. Pollard’s assessment of me in a personal action in the High Court for damages,” the statement added.

“For now, I will simply state that of the many appeals that I have written, the case law and other legal materials that I have cited in support, I can safely say that I have close to one hundred percent success rate of my decisions being upheld in the High Court of appeal.”

Mrs. Holder-Allen said that just as a test case, she would like to ask Mr. Pollard to show in the last two years whether she lost any of the appeals on the decisions she gave and which were heard in the Appellate Court and High Court.

The Chief Magistrate said that the loose statements reportedly made by Mr. Pollard could in no way be justified.

Kaieteur News understands that the Guyana Bar Association’s position on the criteria for selection to a High Court Judge has not been taken in the context of making a case against anyone.

This newspaper was told that the criteria spoken of by Mr. Pollard, is but mere communication among members of the Bar without any intention to cause disrespect. According to a contact at the Bar, whatever was said may have been misrepresented and resulted in this confusion.