The Bar Council of the Guyana Bar Association (GBA) is calling on all people to speak out against the recent attacks on Justices of the Court of Appeal, ahead of the hearing set for today on the elections declaration case
“The Bar Association once again condemns,” a statement from the GBA said, “the recent inflammatory, malicious and racially charged statements, made over the past two days, through various forms of media, targeted again at the Court of Appeal in yet another pending election matter. The Guyana Bar denounces and objects to any member of the judiciary being subjected to scurrilous, disrespectful, racial and indecent attacks, which do or have the tendency to scandalize or lower the authority of any court. All such actions which interfere with the due course of any judicial proceedings or obstruct the administration of justice in any other manner must be condemned.”
This is not the first time that legal and judicial officers have been attacked during the elections process. As the Council noted, “For the third time this month, we are moved to once again speak, as we have previously done condemning attacks on the judiciary, attorneys-at-law and generally, persons in the lawful exercise of their profession and duties. Over the past four months, judges presiding over matters touching and concerning the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections have been subjected to distasteful unrelenting personal and other attacks which not only bring them into odium but also serve the undesired result of undermining public confidence in our judicial system.”
The Council said that the attacks have plunged society into a new, unimaginable low. It noted that the Court is not immune from public criticism but such criticism must be fettered within the ambit of law and governing legal principles. In the case those principles are breached, the Council reminds that legal proceedings may be instituted against the perpetrator(s), with imprisonment a possible penalty where applicable.
The Council said that political leaders, especially, should assuage and guide their supporters in responsible conduct. Their silence in the face of these attacks, the Council said, is disappointing and regrettable.