Features — 31 January 2018

(Continued from page 10 of the Friday, January 26, 2018 issue of the Amandala.)

The abuse of the system

However, the abuse did not end there since in that case not only did my former firm representing me show up on the other side. Attorney Lois Young Barrow made an unprecedented move and applied for my Family Court matter to be removed from the Family Court, where there can be no breach of confidentiality, and asked that my case instead be heard in the regular Magistrate’s Court. It was not being heard like any other public trial and the justification was that it was a contempt charge and the Family Court did not have the power to hand down the punishment they were seeking.

Sadly, I really did not know better then, and while I felt it wrong and so unjust and outright unlawful, I again did not have the legal learning to express or prove the violation against me! But today I know better. Today I know that all those who participated in that circus and who were all trained attorneys knew better but were not operating as true officers of justice, because remember I told you I learned that law is not about truth or justice, but about who can pay, who have the influence and control the power. The PUP was in power then. The now Justice Lord was the Chief Magistrate, and ironically the now Chief Magistrate was the Magistrate before whom I appeared. The attorney for the opponent was Lois Young and my attorney was Dean Lindo, S.C.

Today I know that under the District Court Act, which also governs the Family Court which is a specialized Magistrate’s Court, that it was not true that the Family Court could not hear my contempt of order charges. On the contrary, my case has been the only Family Court case in history that has been tried before a regular Magistrate’s Court instead of being tried by a Magistrate’s Court sitting as a family court! And I also know that the Family Court Act and the Families and Children’s Act specifically make it a condition that family matters are to be heard in closed court and the proceedings should never be made public.

My case was not held in closed court; the public was allowed to sit in; the media was allowed to report on it. To date the archives of this country reveal what transpired in that case. But now I know better and can look any of those unethical attorneys and officers of the law in the face because today I know what they know and today they know that I know that they did me wrong!

But today I could speak out when I see these abuses, as I witnessed with a client just over a week ago. Behind her back a trial was held after her case was adjourned by the Clerk at the instruction of the assigned Magistrate, yet an unassigned Magistrate heard the matter despite my client’s not getting the required notice under the law and thus it could not be heard, and worse yet, after she left the court house. But I will not give details because this will yet be the subject of a court proceeding.

Suffice to say that today, like twenty-two years ago, I can still see first-hand the abuses men and women endure even in the courts and by the courts or behind the shield of the courts. If I did not experience the abuse then and now, first hand, I would not have the moral authority to speak against it.  Thus I sternly advocate that we now include in our school curricula some form of basic legal education so that citizens are aware of their rights and fight for said rights. Twenty-two years ago I did not know my rights: I only felt wronged at the core. Had I obtained the basics about how the court system operates I would have known that I could have done judicial review of the decision of the Magistrate at the Magistrate’s Court to hear my matter so openly and publicly. The right thing she should have done was to have the matter heard at the Family Court because her superiors who directed her to hear the matter, like her, knew the law and knew that the Family Court had power to hear my contempt case and to even pass sentence as the law provides to a court of summary jurisdiction!

Ironically, then Lois Young was a rabid PUP and was helping the Said Musa government to silence me because I was more than a worthy opponent and a one-woman army against their atrocities! Today the same Lois is now a rabid UDP serving as an ambassador! So you see why law is about power and not truth?

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Deshawn Swasey

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