The sudden absence of Justice Alexander Henderson from the Grand Court has caused a brief delay in one civil matter and an adjournment in two criminal cases.
According to last week’s court schedule, Justice Henderson dealt with a matter on Monday and then had Tuesday to read the file in a case referred to as Sphinx. In this matter, he was to have heard arguments in chambers on Wednesday, Thursday and possibly Friday. Three law firms were involved.
On Wednesday morning, however, before coming to his office, Justice Henderson was arrested by police. He was interviewed on Wednesday and Thursday, but not charged.
On Friday, 26 September, Justice Henderson was scheduled to deal with five criminal matters in open court. He did not appear.
Instead, Chief Justice Anthony Smellie took the day’s list, more than an hour late. He greeted everyone and apologised for keeping them waiting.
‘These are extraordinary circumstances and I have had to be preoccupied with other matters unavoidably,’ he explained. He said he was taking over the list and could do nothing more than adjourn matters.
Two cases were only for mention anyway and the Chief Justice heard what progress had been made before assigning new dates.
A third matter had been set for sentencing, but a required medical report was not complete and Attorney John Furniss requested a further adjournment.
Another case involved sentencing for a firearm offence. Attorney Nicholas Dixey said he appreciated the particular difficulties of the day and his client would not suffer any prejudice if sentencing were delayed by a week.
Attorney Edward Renvoize noted that his client’s matter had been reserved to Justice Henderson for sentence. He wondered if the court could assist with a new date.
‘I am afraid not,’ the Chief Justice replied. An adjournment of four weeks was agreed upon.
The cause list for this week, 29 September – 3 October, shows the Chief Justice taking over the Sphinx matter Monday through Wednesday.
Justice Charles Quin, who began vacation leave on 22 September, was back on the list.
Justice Norma McIntosh, who began in a temporary capacity on 15 September, was scheduled to continue hearing matters this week.
Justice Lennox Campbell, who began hearing matters in a temporary capacity on 22 September, was also scheduled to continue. Both of the Acting Justices have a mix of criminal and civil cases.