Magistrate recuses self from case following attempts to influence him

Guyana Forensic Science Laboratory’s Senior Science Officer Ms. Tamika Henry

Senior Magistrate Alex Moore on Tuesday at Springlands told an open court that he is forced to recuse himself from an ongoing matter before him after a public officer telephoned him about the matter expressing concerns about the way he was handling the matter in which a staff from the Guyana Forensic Science Laboratory was testifying.

BIG Smith Crime Watch learnt that Senior Science Officer of the GFSL Tamika Henry who is currently performing the duties as head of the Laboratory as its substantive head Dillon France is on Leave, reportedly telephoned the Magistrate where she in essence accused him of not favorably accepting the submissions of the Forensic Laboratory staff.

“Right now I find you extremely disrespectful and out of place I find your tone and attitude horrendously objectionable. I have been tolerating this phone call a lot longer than I have to, in trying to explain to you certain protocols but at this point with your abhorrent behavior I find that this phone call has gone about as far as it could” Magistrate Alex Moore recalled to the court.

Ms. Henry when contacted by BIG Smith Crime Watch for a comment on the matter and asked of her reason for calling the magistrate stated “I am going to reserve my comment but thank you for letting me know”

She reportedly got the Magistrate’s number by calling various officers and offices in Berbice and was finally able to secure the number for the Magistrate from the Clerk of Court at the Whim Magistrate’s Court who reportedly got carried away after Henry identified herself and where she was calling from before telling the clerk that ‘it was very urgent’.

Senior Magistrate Alex Moore

The matter which is before the court involves a woman who has an indictable charge of having in her possession a quantity of counterfeit notes. The matter has been ongoing since August 2018 and came about as a result of a Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit operation back in 2018 at her home.

In the trial, the prosecution called to the stand a woman who is employed by the Guyana Forensic Science Laboratory and presented her as their ‘expert’ on identifying counterfeit notes.

When the ‘expert’ was crossed examined by the defense counsel representing the accused, she was asked about the various courses and certification she was exposed to that deems her an expert. After listening to the questions from the defense and the responses given by the ‘expert’ the magistrate adjourned the matter to allow the prosecutor to equip itself with the answers for the questions posed by the defense.

In her call to the magistrate she reportedly questioned his authority to question ‘her staff’ about her credentials and her ability to be referred to an expert in identifying counterfeit notes.

After some discussion, the Senior Science Officer according to what the court was told on Tuesday, then accused the magistrate of not siding with the prosecution after he sought to explain to her the process by which her concerns ought to be raised.

“It is my duty to report with a not unremarkable degree of disgust that I have been improperly approached by a member of the Guyana National Forensic Laboratory who called me to help clear up issues about a matter that is currently before the court and it’s not my option or choice, it is my duty to clear it up in open court in the interest of transparency” the court was told on Tuesday.

It was noted that during the conversation, the officer was told that she was raising the issue with the wrong person and that such matters should be raised with the prosecutor who would put the cause to the court and the magistrate would look at the submissions before him before coming to a decision.

By virtue of being called by the officer, the magistrate then informed the court that he was recusing himself from hearing the matter and adjourned it to Monday December 16 where it is expected that the Chief Magistrate would have the matter reassigned to another magistrate.