George Wiltshire Defendant/Appellant v P.C. Harriette H. Complainant/Respondent [ECSC]

JurisdictionCaribbean States
CourtEastern Caribbean Supreme Court
Judgment Date20 Mar 1973
Neutral Citation[1973] ECSC J0320-1
Docket NumberMagistrate's Criminal Appeal No. 1 of 1973
[1973] ECSC J0320-1



The Honourable the Acting Chief Justice

The Honourable Mr. Justice St. Bernard

The Honourable Mr. Justice Louisy (Ag.)

Magistrate's Criminal Appeal No. 1 of 1973

George Wiltshire
P.C. Harriette H.

C.C. Beausolell for Defendant/Appellant

Miss I.O. Shillingford, Legal Assistant for Complainant/Respondent


This is an appeal against conviction on the 12th January, 1973 for larceny of coconuts valued at $46.30, the property of the Commonwealth Development Corporation. The appellant was fined the sum of forty dollars payable on or before the 31st January, 1973 and in default three months imprisonment.


From his conviction the appellant has appealed on four grounds. Counsel abandoned grounds two and four and argued grounds one and three. Ground one was as follows:

"Counsel for the defendant was precluded from addressing the Court on the whole case at the close of the defence by the learned magistrate who forthwith convicted the defendant without having afforded counsel the opportunity to address the Court."


Counsel for the appellant con tended that the magistrate erred when he convicted the appellant at the close of the defence without allowing counsel the opportunity to address on the whole case. He referred the Court to section 83 of the Magistrate's Code of Procedure Ordinance, Cap 26 of the Laws of Dominica. This section reads as follows:

"83. The prosecutor shall not be entitled to make any observations in reply upon the evidence given by the defendant nor the defendant upon the evidence given in reply by the prosecutor, but this shall not preclude counsel on either side from addressing the Court on the whole case."


Counsel contends that this section gives him the right at the end of the case to address and the magistrate should have invited him to do so before convicting the appellant.


In my view there is merit in counsel's contention. The magistrate in his reasons for decision stated that he was not a ware that counsel wanted to address and so convicted the appellant. The conviction of the appellant was premature as the magistrate should have invited counsel to address the Court on the whole case before determination of the matter. This question arose in the case of Bascombe v. Commissioner of Police. 1971 (Magisterial Criminal Appeal No. 9 of 1971, Grenada). In that case this Court held that...

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