REAL NEWS: Chief Magistrate Walsh served with 10 disciplinary charges after Legal Services Commission completes investigation
Following an investigation authorized by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC), Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh has been served with 10 disciplinary charges, sources tell REAL News.
Reportedly, the probe into Walsh’s professional conduct was undertaken by a judge assigned by the Commission, which is headquartered in St. Lucia.
Walsh, who remains on the bench in the meantime, is expected to defend herself against those charges, and the sources claim that two attorneys already have been contacted.
In the meantime, Attorney-General Steadroy Benjamin, who is also the minister of legal affairs, has been advised by the Commission, the sources add.
Insiders say the news – delivered on Tuesday, July 12 – has “rocked the magistracy,” and they indicate that “changes may be coming at the top.”
That was the latest in a series of reports made against Walsh, including one by a Court employee, who alleged she had been the victim of intimidation and aggression by the chief magistrate.
Last year, a letter making the rounds on social media accused her of other offenses and alerted the public to the level of distrust among the chief magistrate, the Court staff, and ministry officials.
Two earlier attempts had been made to investigate the accusations against Walsh – first, by an officer of the High Court and the second, reportedly, by the ministry’s permanent secretary. However, it is alleged that both were thwarted by objections from the chief magistrate.
However, the sources say that, following the report by the senior police office, the JLSC assigned a judge to investigate the complaints. Reportedly, he was on island in March and April and conducted interviews with persons having knowledge of the chief magistrate’s conduct.
Prior to her promotion to her current position, Walsh worked as a senior Crown counsel in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions under the leadership of Anthony Armstrong.
Armstrong recently received the Cabinet’s approval for early retirement, following charges of misconduct leveled in his native Jamaica.