Henderson not suspended

| 02/10/2008

(CNS): Chief Justice Anthony Smellie has confirmed that Justice Alex Henderson had not been suspended from his office as a Judge of the Grand Court but has opted not to preside at present. “The administrative decision as to whether Justice Henderson should at this time be sitting as a judge has been left to me,” said Smellie in a statement. “Through his advisors, Justice Henderson has agreed that it would be inappropriate for him to preside in the circumstances as presented to him. I shall keep the matter under review.”

The statement was read at the opening of the Grand Court yesterday, 1 October, by Justice Lennox Campbell, who has been temporarily appointed to serve in Cayman from Jamaica for one month.  The Chief Justice had to be in another court dealing with a case over which Justice Henderson had been presiding.

In the statement Smellie said that Henderson was arrested on an allegation which does not involve dishonesty and was unconnected to any case over which he presided and noted that he has not been charged. The Chief Justice also sought to address concerns regarding the current situation with the judiciary and announced the plans he had put in place to address the absence of two Grand Court Judges and the impact on the court schedule.

“The recent arrest of Justice Henderson, following the appointment of an inquiry into the conduct of Justice Levers, inevitably must cause concern about the Courts’ capacity to continue to serve at the level of efficiency that the legal fraternity and the public have come to expect. I wish to allay those concerns and make clear the steps I have taken to ensure that the integrity of the judicial system remains intact,” he said. “Justice Charles Quin returned to resume duties today, having agreed to cut his two weeks’ leave in the UK by one week. Justice Norma McIntosh, who has wide judicial experience in Jamaica, has been appointed to sit for a period of three weeks.” 

Smellie also announced that Justice Lennox Campbell, a High Court Judge of Jamaica with wide judicial experience, had been appointed to act as judge for a period of one month. 

“The necessary measures have therefore been taken to ensure that there will be four judges available to deal with the busy calendar so that access to the Courts is unimpeded,” he stated. “I therefore wish to assure the public that adequate steps have been taken to deal with this difficult situation. The public can retain its confidence in the administration of justice in the Islands.  The judiciary dealing with cases in courts will continue to adjudicate them fairly, impartially and with integrity.”

He thanked all members of the legal fraternity for their understanding as Legal Affairs worked to do everything at the Courts to ensure that the administration of justice continues to function normally.

“I thank my colleagues and staff for their outstanding efforts at ensuring that we continue to serve the public with as little disruption as possible,” the Chief Justice added.

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