Magistrate John Ballah is the latest presiding Magistrate to order that journalists who cover court matters are ‘comfortably’ accommodated during court proceedings.
By: Haydn Huggins•Fri, Sep 29, 2023
Magistrate John Ballah has demonstrated his recognition and appreciation for the role journalists play in the Court process, by ensuring that a media desk is installed at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court.
Journalists, who turned up to cover Monday’s proceedings of that Court had for the first time in several years, at any Magistrate’s Court, somewhere specifically designated for them to sit and write.
High Court Judge Ruckie Burnett, when he was senior Magistrate, had repeatedly told police officers, who sat during Court proceeding, to give the journalists a seat when they enter, especially when the Court room was full.
He had repeatedly explained that some journalists were assigned specifically to cover the Court, and therefore must be accommodated.
Several years ago, High Court Judge Odel Adam, now deceased, was instrumental in having a media desk installed at the High Court, but unfortunately, in recent months, that desk has been removed.
Adams had underscored that journalists play a significant role in the Court process, as they carry the information to the public.
Other judges have also recognized this role, including Justices Frederick Bruce-Lyle, now deceased, Justice Brian Cottle and now Justice Burnett.
Ballah, a former Assistant Superintendent of Police, took up duties as Magistrate on June 26, 2023, and presides over the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court.