Member of the public signing the complaint to be sent to the ECSC on Monday

A group of citizens here, under the umbrella of the Citizens Forum for Good Governance, have written a complaint to the St. Lucia-based Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) in a matter which they say is severely undermining and sabotaging the administration of justice and rule of law in Dominica.

The matter has to do with 42 criminal charges brought against attorney Stephen Isidore by his former partner Glenworth Emmanuel in 2010 which according to the group needs “an urgent corrective intervention suo motu from the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) to prevent further injury to the integrity of the legal community at large and criminal justice system in this jurisdiction.”

In the complaint, a copy of which was obtained by Dominica News Online, the group said it is seeking action from the ECSC in applying ‘legal and disciplinary sanctions’ for what it described as “very troubling irregularities, breaches and criminal antecedents that have emerged in this matter.”

The group said it has now been 697 days since the criminal complaints were made against Isidore; 686 days since a warrant was issued for his arrest and 680 days since Isidore was able to secure a Stay against further proceedings in the matter and since then nothing has transpired.

“Predictably, there has also been no Judicial Review hearing to determine whether the Chief Magistrate acted in accordance with the rule of law in issuing the warrant for Mr. Isidore’s arrest, although this exercise ought to have been done within a time-bound frame, and expeditiously,” the complaint said. “You will surely appreciate that such delay-tactics are not only tools wielded to escape the consequences for the offences committed by the accused, but they seriously undermine and sabotage the sanctity of the judicial structure.”

The group said it is particularly concerned of the implication all this might have on judicial system in Dominica. “What is truly appalling, and which we hope will certainly hold the attention of the ECSC, is that no one seems to care about the dangerous implications for the integrity of our criminal justice system, or the irreparable harm done to the public at large,” it said in the complaint.

The group lamented the fact that in the meantime Isidore, who is facing charges of serious criminal offences, continues to practice law in Dominica. “It is, in our respectful view, quite simply scandalous, that notwithstanding the gravity of the criminal misconduct for which he is charged, Mr. Isidore can still be engaged in legal practice in Dominica, or anywhere for that matter, and the absence of adequate statutory provisions for disciplinary action should not be used as an excuse,” the group said.

The complaint mentioned the alleged firebombing of Emmanuel’s home and the non-action that followed. “Regrettably, to date, the police have  steadfastly refused to charge the  confessor, and the person accused of paying for the crime,  clandestinely left Dominica on April 20th, 2011, 544 days ago, aided and abetted, perhaps, by the enforcers of the law themselves, and has  not returned since,” it said.

Speaking to Dominica News Online Athie Martin, a member of Citizens Forum for Good Governance, said the purpose of the complaint is to “seek justice.” “We are seeking justice,” he said. “It is time we get the justice system to deliver justice.”

On Monday members of the public were given the opportunity to sign the petition before it was sent to the ECSC.