Monday 25 June 2012 – A special sitting was convened at the Registry of the High Court on Monday June 25th, on the occasion of the retirement of the Honourable Justice Sir Hugh Rawlins. His legal peers described the moment as a bitter-sweet departure.
Director of Public Prosecution Mrs. Victoria Charles Clarke says the five years of service by the Honourable Chief Justice was a sterling and tremendous contribution to the OECS Supreme Court.
“My Lord today marks the close of one chapter in your illustrious legal and judicial career. Your achievements which culminated in your rise to the highest judicial office of Chief Justice of the OECS in September 2005 have been nothing short of outstanding. It is my view that your tenure was marked by the highest level of wisdom, legal acumen and distinction.”
Meantime in response to tributes paid to him from the bar and the bench Sir Rawlins expressed his gratitude to have had the opportunity to work with legal practitioners of the sub -region particularly here in Saint Lucia. He also commented frankly on many of the current issues facing the legal and judicial landscape. These included the Evidence Act 2002 and the Caribbean Court of Justice CCJ.
“When legislation is being passed and in many instances as the Evidence Act which the learned DPP is indicating, there are provisions which have become thorns in the prosecution’s side. What happened? It is simply because in the Caribbean we are copycats and we are too lazy to think for ourselves or to do for ourselves in many instances. And so it is easy to copy it from somewhere else especially from a first world country because we are a third world country, that’s what we think of ourselves. And that evidence act was borrowed almost verbatim from Australia and when it was being burrowed verbatim from Australia we had not even read the commentaries coming out of the law schools and out of the publications which indicated that were those difficulties so we could have crafted ours, mindful of those difficulties, mindful of those difficulties”
In regard to the CCJ, Sir Rawlins advised that tradition must not be dispensed with in the process of making this institutional transition from the Privy Council to the Caribbean Court of Justice. He also paid tribute to the Privy Council for its vast contribution to Caribbean jurisprudence.