Magistrate Rickie Burnett says that he is not surprised that he has been promoted to Senior Magistrate, seven years after being appointed to the magistracy.
“In the month of April, I will be celebrating 34 years in the public service. I was not surprised because I did apply for the position,” Burnett told iWitness News on Thursday.
“To the best of my knowledge, that position has been vacant since Donald Browne demitted office [a few years ago]. So it has been vacant for a while so last year February or thereabout, I applied and I was not surprised that my application was successful,” he said.
“The Public Service is where I spent all my life and once you are working in the public service you expect to be promoted, so I am not at all surprised,” said Burnett, who was, until recently, magistrate for District 2, which sits in Mesopotamia, Biabou, Colonaire and Georgetown.
Up to the point of Burnett’s appointment, Bertie Pompey, has been sitting at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court and is now likely to be transferred to a district court, as the Chief Magistrate decides.
Burnett said he was informed on Thursday that the Judicial and Legal Services Commission had approved his appointment.
“The thing about it is that it is just a continuation of what I have been doing in district 2. There is not going to be anything new,” he said, when asked how would his new post be different from the previous one.
“It is the same kind of matters that are likely to come before me and the same law has to be applied, so it is really nothing new,” he said.
“It is just a higher office, a higher position,” he said, reiterating that he would be doing the same kind of criminal, civil, and traffic matters that he handled in the district court.
Burnett, however, noted that the senior magistrate is also vice-president of the Family Court and might have to hear Family Court matters that the president of that court might assign from time to time.
“And maybe when she is on leave, matters may come before me because the post is really Senior Magistrate and Vice-President of the Family Court.”
Burnett said that functioning as Senior Magistrate will not affect any part-heard matters currently before him in the district courts.
“Matters that I have still pending can always be transferred to the court that I am in because once you are a magistrate, you are magistrate for the whole country. So, part-heard matters, for example, that I have in my district, if I am to be positioned in the Kingstown court, all that will happen is that those matters would be transferred to the Court that I am physically in. That ought not to be a problem,” he told iWitness News.
iWitness News understands that Burnett will be sworn in next week.