One female magistrate meanwhile doesn’t seem to be very fond of fresh-to-court advocates – particularly young, make-up-wearing-and-accessory-laden female advocates who demonstrate the slightest unfamiliarity with court process or their briefs.
A young lady sauntered into the full court room and duly took a seat at the front pew. She proceeded to immerse herself in her phone only distracted by the occasional conversation with the fine gentleman standing close by who also happened to be appearing in the matter. Her file was called out and no sooner had the State Counsel finished with the directions that madam shot up to introduce herself.
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“Lady, I am still writing!” the Magistrate promptly shut her down.
Finally given a go ahead, the proceeded to read out her application verbatim.
“My client is a refugee and a person of interest to the refugee consortium. I pray he be released”. She had pressed the wrong button. The exchange that followed was hilarious – at least in court-speak.
“Counsel, you do not come to my court and tell me to release a suspect without any proper reason. Give me a reason why I should release him.”
“He is supposed to have a refugee ID…”
“Does he have the ID?” the visibly impatient jurist shot back.
“I don’t know…I thought…”
“Counsel how can you not know? Are you even an advocate? You don’t understand your duties. I expect you to come to court prepared. These are things you ought to have known before you stepped out of your office. You haven’t even conferred with your client!”
The magistrate then proceeded to give the lady a tutorial on court process, and asked her to approach her client at the dock and seek his indulgence.
“What does he say? She asked. Does he have the pass?”
(With teary, trembling voice) “He only speaks Somali,” the advocate replied.
“And so?” the Magistrate prodded.
Counsel ought to have known that the Court was waiting for her to either pray for a translator or at the very worst that the file be placed aside to allow her seek further instructions and at least indulge her learned colleague, the state counsel. But so embarrassed and torn to shreds before a buzzing court room, it must have escaped her. Acting sua motu, the Court provided a translator vide whom it was discovered that refugees have temporary papers which allow them to move as they wait for the registration process to be completed. The accused person did not have his papers with him.
Instructing herself, the Learned Magistrate then consulted the State Counsel before giving the matter a mention date “to allow counsel to prepare”. I doubt she will be appearing before this particular magistrate very soon. (