Appeared before Carmona: Carlton Cummings, who is charged with chopping a man several times and pelting the victim's wife with stones, leaves the San Fernando High Court yesterday. He was ordered to reappear today before Justice Anthony Carmona. —Photo: TREVOR WATSON

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Carmona tackles last cases at Sando court

By Nikita Braxton-Benjamin nikita.braxton@trinidaexpress.com

PRESIDENTIAL nominee Justice Anthony Carmona turned up at the San Fernando High Court yesterday to deal with the criminal matters listed before him.

Carmona said he had consulted with Chief Justice Ivor Archie on the issue.

Carmona announced to the court that tomorrow will be his last day as a judge since on Monday, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar named him as the Government's lone nominee for the post of President.

"I sought advice from my honourable CJ (Archie) as to whether I should be here today. He felt there was no problem with me disposing of my matters. He was concerned and I was concerned of the unfairness brought on persons who pleaded guilty before me," Carmona said.

The judge said he would have heard mitigation from some of the defence attorneys in some of the cases.

"I felt in circumstances it would have been a dereliction of my responsibility as a judge, because I'm still a judge. To simply walk away from these matters without blinking an eyelid, I feel if I were simply to walk away, I would further burden the very list I sometimes complain of."

Carmona added, "As I say to many accused, you need to do the right thing. It begins with the man in the mirror. In this case, the judge in the mirror."

Carmona admitted he may not be able to complete all his matters by tomorrow, but with the assistance of the attorneys he would be able to finish most of them.

The judge, who said he was suffering from a "bout of laryngitis", spoke about his nomination after senior attorney Wilston Campbell stood to congratulate him.

Carmona pointed out that both he and Campbell were from the same area of Fyzabad. "It is something to think about in terms of where we all can go as individuals, where we all can aspire to as individuals," he said.

Carmona became a judge in 2004. Last year he was elected a judge to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Carmona praised others who had served internationally, including Justice Melville Baird, Anthony Lucky and Karl Hudson-Phillips.

"In my humble view, we have citizens who can and do make great strides in the international arena," Carmona said.

He also praised former president Arthur NR Robinson, who was responsible for the birth of the International Criminal Court.

"I don't think we sometimes fully appreciate the magnitude of the man. In international circles, he's seen as a type of (Nelson) Mandela in the international criminal system and is treated no less," Carmona said.

Carmona thanked those who would have led to him reaching this stage in his career.

He dealt with ten matters yesterday, including the case of Kerry Gore who was charged with setting fire to his brother's home on September 11, 2005.

Gore, 35, of La Brea, pleaded guilty to the arson charge.

Defence attorney Saira Lakhan said her client had a history of mental illness and had been awaiting trial for the past seven years.

She said with this wait, Gore would have served his time and should be allowed to go home. But Carmona asked that information be relayed to the court today over where Gore would reside should he be released from prison.

Eighty-year-old Carlton Cummings, who is charged with chopping Joseph Emmanuel Bishop several times and pelting Bishop's wife with stones, was also ordered to reappear before Carmona today.

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