Tardiness is contempt
People bailed for court were put on notice last week that tardiness can result in a remand until the end of the day.
Chief Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale said she found it insulting that, of approximately 30 defendants who were on bail, only three were in the courtroom when she entered to begin proceedings at 10am.
Other people were apparently out in the lobby or downstairs or had not yet arrived.
Those who trickled in after the court began sitting were sent out until 10.15am.
When the marshal ushered everyone in, the magistrate addressed the group. “I would like to know what time you think court starts,” she began. “Could you explain your lack of respect? You all want respect – respect goes both ways.”
The magistrate pointed out that they could be remanded in custody until the rising of the court.
She reminded everyone that the court is a public institution established for the good order of these Islands.
“You are not bailed to attend when you please. You are bailed for 10am. Do I make myself clear?” she said.
Several people responded affirmatively and two or three said “sorry” before taking a seat in the gallery.