Today’s Editorial for June 3: Shame on the lawyers

One notable aspect of the bizarre
saga surrounding suspended Grand Court Justice Priya Levers is the fact that in
its ruling, a Tribunal of Inquiry relied heavily on the testimony of two court
stenographers.  This is disappointing not
because we doubt what the court reporters said, and not because we look at
their ‘whistle blowing’ in a negative light. 
On the contrary, we applaud these courageous women for speaking out
about what they witnessed.

The disappointing aspect of this
case is that the court stenographers had few others to back up their claims of
inappropriate behaviour by Mrs. Levers in the courtroom.  Regardless, the tribunal found their
testimony “reliable and convincing”, and indeed “pivotal”.

Since there were private sector
attorneys in the courtroom during the specific cases cited by the stenographers,
it is telling that none of them recalled anything amiss in Mrs. Levers’
courtrooms; if only lawyers’ memories were so faulty when it came to recording
their billable hours.

The fact of the matter is many
attorneys in the Cayman Islands witnessed what occurred in Mrs. Levers’
courtroom, just as the court reporters did. Unfortunately, none of these attorneys
had the courage and integrity to say what they witnessed because they were too
afraid of what might happen if they did and then had to appear before Mrs.
Levers again, if she was returned to the bench.

In doing so, many of Cayman’s
attorneys hung the court reporters out to dry. 
They also did a disservice to the chief justice, who was the one who reported
the matter to the governor. Without the backing testimony from a majority of
Cayman’s attorneys, this matter has lingered on, a weight around the neck of
the judiciary.

But that’s not all; had the
attorneys had the courage to say what they witnessed, perhaps this episode
wouldn’t have dragged on for so long at the cost of Cayman’s taxpayers, who are
still paying Mrs. Levers’ salary. 

Some Cayman attorneys should hang
their heads in shame over this; we expect more from practitioners of the
so-called noble profession.

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