Defence Bar meets with Chief Justice over DPP
Chief Justice Ian Kawaley has met with representatives of the Defence Bar after a walkout over the recent reappointment of Rory Field.
A statement released this afternoon said: “Representatives of the Criminal Defence Bar met on Monday with Chief Justice for discussions relating to the stance taken by the Criminal Defence Bar following the Governor’s decision to reappoint Mr Field as the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for a further two years — following repeated, and well-publicised, statements from Government House, over the last five or more years, indicating that a suitably qualified Bermudian would be selected to fill the post.
“In a constructive dialogue with the Chief Justice, both parties reaffirmed their shared commitment to promoting the efficient and collaborative operation of Bermuda’s Criminal Justice System in a spirit of mutual respect and understanding.
“In particular, representatives of the Criminal Defence Bar clearly stated that their actions were not intended to disrupt the Special Sitting and that their number remained at all times respectful to the members of the Judiciary present in Court for the Special Sitting. To the extent that any disruption did occur or was perceived to have occurred, this was regrettable. The Chief Justice was satisfied with this explanation.”
The statement noted that last Friday’s walkout was not the first attempt by the Criminal Defence Bar to address the issue, stating that in December 2013 a delegation requested a meeting with the Governor, who in turn directed the delegation to meet with the Deputy Governor.
Mr Field was first appointed to the position of DPP in 2007, having previously held the same post in Belize. He was reappointed in 2010 with the intention of being replaced by a Bermudian, but he was reappointed again in 2013.
It was reported that Deputy DPP Cindy Clarke had applied for the post and been approved by a panel, but Governor George Fergusson said her appointment had become “untenable” after “certain developments”. Premier Craig Cannonier expressed concern about the reappointment.
The latest reappointment sparked further concerns, with Shadow Attorney-General Michael Scott calling it a “slap in the face” and Premier Michael Dunkley promising to discuss the matter with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.