A clear failure to provide duty of care

  • Let down: Chavelle Dillon-Burgess (Photograph supplied)

    Let down: Chavelle Dillon-Burgess (Photograph supplied)


Dear Sir,

It is submitted that the system regrettably has failed Chavelle Dillon-Burgess, and that the system owed her a duty of care — that it owes her family, her estate, her child a duty of care.

The magistrates handling Chavelle’s case, the Crown Counsel handling Chavelle’ case have all failed her.

What has happened to the concept of parens patriae — a doctrine that allows the state to step in as guardian?

What has happened to the concept of judicial notice?

How many complaints did Chavelle make?

How many times did Chavelle appear in court?

How many times was her complaint withdrawn?

How many times was a blind eye cast upon Chavelle’s case?

Whom did she complain of?

How many times was someone summoned to Court?

How many times did they fail to appear?

How were they treated by the court, by the Crown’s Department of Public Prosecutions?

“We are Bermudians” was the theme of Bermuda’s 2020 Heritage Month.

Were the magistrates handling her case unaware of the surrounding circumstances?

Who bailed the defendant with condition(s) to have no contact with the complainant when both parties in the matter shared the same living space?

We live on a 21-square-mile cluster of Islands with a density of more than 3,000 people per square mile. We all have “judicial notice”.

Was the Crown Counsel handling her case unaware of the situation? Was the defendant in Chavelle’s case treated with kid gloves?

I was taught that the court is not interested in who you are but what you are: complainant, respondent, petitioner, defendant, witness, etcetera.

In that tragic Ferry Reach case 24 years ago, it was the fiasco that occurred after the fact.

In Chavelle’s case, it was the fiasco that occurred before the fact, and it is submitted that this could have been prevented. What should our parens patriae have done, and what could they have done based on the tittle of evidence or information before them coupled with judicial notice?

In his May 23, 2020 news conference, the Commissioner of Police stated that “domestic abuse concerns us all”.

Yet, here we have registered a clear case of a dereliction of duty on the part of our parens patriae — the Magistrates’ Court and the Department of Public Prosecutions — which has resulted in the loss of another young life and a mother.

In the words of the late Lord Denning, Master of the Rolls:

“What is the argument on the other side?

“Only this, that no case has been found in which it has been done before.

“That argument does not appeal to me in the least. If we never do anything which has not been done before, we shall never get anywhere. The law will stand still whilst the rest of the world goes on; and that will be bad for both” —Denning LJ (as he then was) in Packer v Packer [1954] P 15 at 22.

LEIGHTON ROCHESTER

Hamilton Parish

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