By Zaya Williams
Antigua and Barbuda’s Chief Magistrate, Joanne Walsh, recently underwent a disciplinary process, which included hearings over the past few days, where evidence was presented concerning her suspension and the potential for her termination.
Walsh found herself ensnared in a web of disciplinary charges, including allegations of failing to transmit collected funds to the government treasury and the destruction of magistrates’ notes, vouchers, and government property. These charges stem from an ongoing investigation by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC).
The JLSC’s investigation into Chief Magistrate Walsh’s conduct has been ongoing for several months, prompted by allegations of misconduct. Taking these allegations seriously, the Commission appointed Justice Godfrey Smith to lead the inquiry.
Upon the conclusion of the investigation, Walsh was charged and subsequently suspended on July 20.
In an attempt to halt the investigation, Walsh had previously sought an interim injunction, arguing that the Permanent Secretary had exceeded her authority.
However, on September 4, her efforts to secure interim relief were unsuccessful. Judge Jan Drysdale ruled that there was insufficient substantial evidence to support allegations of an abuse of process.
The disciplinary proceedings continued, and as reported by Observer Media, she faced an additional five charges during the hearing.
Now, she awaits the tribunal’s decision, pending the submission of legal arguments by her legal team and the respondents.