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Magistrates to meet with Chief Justice

...Safety concerns

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

MAGISTRATES intend to hold a meeting with Chief Justice Ivor Archie to address their concerns in light of the murder of Senior Counsel Dana Seetahal.

Head of the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Magistrates (TTAM), Alexander Prince, said yesterday they hoped to meet Archie during  this week, even as a senior magistrate expressed fear about heading to work.

Senior Magistrate Lucina Cardenas-Ragoonanan has said in reaction to Seetahal’s killing: “I will be honest with you, I said to my husband (Sunday) morning I do not feel to go to work (Monday) morning. I do not feel to go. I feel that maybe it is me next. I am scared, I am scared and I do not know if it is that this particular incident is something isolated but it is not, you know, it has hit the heart of justice and administration in this country.”

Prince told the Express Cardenas-Ragoonanan’s comments were of concern to the TTAM.

“I don’t think any other magistrate would have expressed such a view, but we will take nothing for granted. We will address that particular issue. We intend to hold a meeting, most likely with the Chief Justice this week so that we can in fact address all concerns as it relates to magistrates and how it impacts upon them,” he said.

But he added, “What I can tell you is that we are generally fearless and would do our work without any fear, favour, malice or ill-will because we have a duty to perform and no one, no one should in fact persuade us from doing what we have to do as judicial officers.”

Seetahal, who was a former magistrate, was killed around 12.05 a.m. on Sunday.

She was shot five times inside her Volkswagen SUV after her vehicle was forced to stop along Hamilton Holder Street, Woodbrook while she was driving home.

Prince, in a release from the TTAM, offered condolences to Seetahal’s family and described her as a counsel, legendary lawyer, educator, mentor and friend.

“Ms Dana Seetahal SC was a powerful force in elevating our legal profession for many years and we have no doubt that her legacy will be honoured. We grieve with the entire legal fraternity over the passing of a woman who, more than most, charged all things she fashioned with a breath of her very own spirit,” the release stated.

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