Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett has been called up again to act as a master of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.
Burnett, who presides over the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court, will act as a High Court master from Sept. 15 to Dec. 21, 2019.
He will be assigned for duty in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Anguilla and Grenada.
With this acting assignment, Burnett will have spent more time on the High Court bench than as a magistrate this year.
He also acted as a master of the High Court from January to May.
Burnett’s appointment to act as a master comes as the previous masters have been appointed judges.
During his first stint as an acting master, the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court remained closed as no magistrate was appointed to preside there, resulting in a significant backlog
On his return to the magistrate court, Burnett said that his mind was on the court, especially after learning that no magistrate had been appointed to act in his absence.
Soon after his return to the magistrate’s court, Burnett gave some insight into his approach to matters that come before him.
While presiding over a case in which the prosecution asked for an adjournment because the complainant had not been summoned, Burnett granted the adjournment, saying that he focuses on justice and not statistics.
Burnett said this is why a matter in his court might be granted several adjournments.
He said he has a different approach when the matter involves police officers as the complainant.
He said that in such cases, it is easy to dismiss charges because of the absence of police officers.
The magistrate, however, asked why should cases involving civilians as complainants and defendants be dismissed because police officers are absent.
“Is that fair to the parties? Are the parties responsible for the police being absent?” Burnett reasoned.
The senior magistrate said those are things that he addresses his mind to when presiding.
Burnett was appointed senior magistrate in 2018, after seven years as a magistrate and 34 years as a public servant.