Senior Magistrate Alex Moore
Senior Magistrate Alex Moore has been on the bench for a number of years. He is a father of one and performs his judicial duties along the Corentyne Corridors in Berbice, Region 6.
For quite some time it has been no secret that the methods employed by Senior Magistrate Alex Moore often raise eyebrows.
He has stated in open court that he was not born to blend in with the furniture.
He has also stated that he has great respect for the late Chancellor J.O.F. Haynes and has no interest in becoming what the late Chancellor described as a “Judicial Note Taker”.
As if his methods – described as many things from dynamic, innovative and refreshing to shocking and controversial- were not enough, Magistrate Moore seems to attract cases with unusual (sometimes even bizarre) facts like a magnet.
Whenever he reads a charge to a defendant, attorneys have praised the lengths to which he goes to ensure that the defendant understands the law surrounding the offence, the procedure, and his or her rights.
He causes the prosecutor to state the alleged facts in detail. It is at this point that many of the unusual cases he seems to attract become visible.
Once this is done the Magistrate then engages in pre trial discussion between the parties which often turns into mediation, often resulting in moving reconciliations between feuding parties. Members of the public, court staff, police ranks and even an attorney have been moved to tears.
During these pre trial discussions, often defendants feel comfortable or remorseful enough to admit their offences, often in better and stronger detail than the prosecutors (often by their own admission) had in their files.
Frequently causing gasps in court, these discussions often turn into mini investigations/ mock trials where defendants realize that it is better to admit that the gig is up and not to waste judicial time.
His worship routinely rewards this and what he perceives as genuine remorse with lightened sentences, which often inspires other persons who have cases next to follow suit.
Many times after Magistrate Moore has spent a long period on pre-trial discussion of a case in front of a packed courtroom, all the cases that follow fall like dominoes.
Alleged threats and/or abuse before Magistrate Moore included:
“Girl go from over me before I cuff you in ya place”. The Magistrate asked “cuff you in your face?” “No Sir. Cuff you in PLACE. I was in the living room lying down and she come and stand up over me and say how she want me go under she and suck she. Your Worship me don’t do them NASTINESS. So I say girl go from over me before I cuff you in ya place. And she walk out and went to the station”.
“The defendant said that he would insert a gun into the anus of the virtual complainant”.
“Hey big lady come leh me bugga you till you froff” (froth at the mouth).
Citing his days as a rugby player, Magistrate Moore once said in court “When I hit, something must move”.
Recently in an ongoing case which comes back up in July, His Worship demonstrated how even simple seeming cases can take unusual turns.
Last Wednesday a 20 year old young lady brought the 24 year old father of her son to court for maintenance.
What was supposed to be a simple exercise in haggling over an amount soon took a turn that brought out several deeper layers.
The Magistrate asked the Respondent father whether he had been supporting the child. He said he had until the mother took him to Suriname instead of leaving him with him and his family as they had agreed.
The Respondent became visibly agitated as details came out about hurtful things that the Applicant had said, including telling her son that his father was dead.
The attitude of the Applicant mother was smug and entitled at first but over the discussion her pride deflated as he was able to show her multiple errors of judgment she had made which did not bode well for the child.
Her pride was replaced with the pain of realization and she began to cry. Moreso when the Respondent father said “Sir, I still have a heart for this woman. Even with what she did to me I wouldn’t take my son away from her because I know he is her happiness”.
When she asked for $10,000 per week the Magistrate asked how much it cost to care for him, noting that the amount was unusually high. He then asked if she was employed. She replied in the negative.
He asked if she was aware that she also had a duty to maintain the child. She replied that she wanted to get a job but it required her to go on training for 6 months and she had no one to keep her son.
The Magistrate then said that based on his observation of the demeanor of the Respondent father he was confident that he would keep his son.
The Respondent father eagerly agreed. It turns out that he had gotten a jon with ExxonMobil which saw him away for a month then home for a month.
He had to delay his departure to come to court and had to leave the next day for Georgetown to be flown to his work location.
The Magistrate said that he could see the father’s pain and that there was just one final question to be answered.
He asked if she knew what it was. She (and the entire court) responded “When can he see his son”. The Magistrate congratulated her on this being the first time that everyone was on the same page and that this boded well for the young man’s future.
The Magistrate said that too many Guyanese children do not have a father interested enough to take the time to try to see them, and that it was cruel for a mother to deprive an interested father out of spite.
He praised her acknowledgment of her mistakes in this regard. He asked about the job she was to apply for. She said she wanted to work as a police officer at the Springlands police station.
Prosecutor Cpl Winston Poliah was asked to provide information on how to apply.
He also pointed out that Covid had stalled rectuitment and that a new batch is expected soon. As it turns out, Chief Inspector Althea Solomon is the Human Resources Officer at Central Police Station in New Amsterdam.
With a smile the Magistrate said “Really! That’s my people! The chief inspector is a skilled prosecutor and budding attorney. Take your materials to her and tell her I sent you.
There are many careers and doorways in the Guyana Police force and the opportunity develop yourself into a professional that your son can respect and emulate”.
The Magistrate gave her a personal note to be delivered to the Chief Inspector and adjourned the matter to late July after the Respondent father would have returned from his stint at work.
At that time an update on the application process, the day to day situation and improvements seen is expected by His Worship.
He wished them the best and the left with visible relief to arrange for the young man to spend the evening with his father after not seeing him for 8 months.