Social media hurting the judiciary

ROSEAU, Dominica (CMC) — A Court of Appeal judge yesterday condemned the use of social media to attack the judiciary in the sub-regional organisation of eastern Caribbean states (OECS).

Addressing the opening of the 14th OECs Law Conference, Justice Gretel Thom said the level of respect shown to the courts from the society had diminished.

“With the advent and proliferation of the use of social media in our societies, at the click of a button persons are able to share and air grievances and opinions whether grounded in truth of not,” she told the delegates from the sub-region attending the two-day event organised by the OECS Bar Association.

She said against this backdrop the level of respect and deference shown to the judiciary has diminished in the society, adding that the “court increasingly finds itself in situations where it is being attacked from different scales, both at the level of the court as an institution and also by personal character attacks”.

The Appeal Court judge said, “Many times the bench is unable to speak and defend itself on its own behalf and in such circumstances we look to the Bar to defend the judiciary”.

She said that the OECs Bar Association has assumed the mandate of supporting the independence of the judiciary “and continues its efforts to foster an understanding among the public in seeking to preserve both the personal and institutional independence of the judiciary”.

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