Dear Editor – I read your front page story in Friday’s paper with considerable interest.
The story was about magistrate Esther Lelapitu defending her decision to sign and issue the No Appeal Certificate to Asia Pacific Investment Development (APID).
She was defending her action and reputation after her fellow magistrate Jim Seuika wrote to the Commissioner of Land requesting that the No Appeal Certificate be revoked.
Mr Seuika had claim Mrs Lelapitu’s action was un-procedural and therefore the certificate was null and void.
But Mrs Lelapitu stood her ground, insisting that she committed no offence, and that when she signed and issued the certificate, it was done according to established procedures.
I do not intend to delve into the legal arguments of these two magistrates.
What I wanted to comment on is the apparent differences and ill-will these two magistrates have displayed in their media comments.
As an outsider, I would have thought that magistrates should be working together, not against each other.
I know these two worked and operated under the same roof so those of us from the public expect them to work as a team, and that any differences of opinion should be sorted out internally.
But when they started spewing rubbish at each other in the public media, I believe something is terribly wrong within the magistrate’s court.
I wonder whether the chief magistrate is aware of the apparent ill-will his two sub-ordinates have displayed in the media over the past days.
It goes to show an apparent rift within the ranks of the magistracy and if this is not sorted out, this may affect the decision making process of the court, as well as the trust the public have for the magistrate’s court.
I would like to think that the chief magistrate should get his two sub-ordinates together and have a word or two with them.
Otherwise, the best option is to post them away from the Central Magistrate’s Court before their differences could do more damage to the reputation of the court.
Perhaps one could be sent to Makira-Ulawa Province, the other to Western Province.