Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett highlighted the important role journalists play, as he presided over a sitting of the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
Burnette made the point when a journalist from another newspaper who was about to enter the Court to cover a Preliminary Inquiry (P.I), found that the seats were all occupied, and had to go back outside.
The reporter, however, returned to the Court shortly after, as the Senior Magistrate told one of the police officers who was sitting to give her a seat, even if he (officer) had to borrow a chair.
“The journalists have an important role to play. I always try to accommodate them”, Burnett said.
Seating at the Serious Offences Court and Kingstown Magistrate’s Court has been limited to about five chairs, since around March this year, to facilitate the physical distancing protocol occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, after the issue with the journalist surfaced, Burnett pointed out that it was time to put some more chairs in the Court room.
He is not the first officer of the Court to show appreciation for the work journalists do.
Several years ago, Justice Odel Adams (now deceased), during a High Court sitting here, pointed out that journalists should be better accommodated during Court sittings, as they play an important role in getting the information to the public, and he was instrumental in having a media box inserted at the High Court building.
However, journalists continue to write in their laps at the Magistrates Court, and sometimes have difficulty getting a seat when turning up to cover proceedings. (TheVin)