The ICJ has noted the ruling of the Magistrates’ Court in Gibraltar dated 8 August with regard to proceedings involving Chief Justice, Derek Schofield. These proceedings were observed by the ICJ.
The ICJ is satisfied that court procedures conformed to international standards of due process. The trial observer also noted that, consistent with the principle that all citizens are equal before the law, neither prosecution nor defence counsel asserted that the office of the defendant (ie Chief Justice), was material to proceedings.
This appears at some variance with the content of the magistrate’s ruling which may be construed as suggesting the contrary. It refers, inter alia, to defence submissions requesting “a degree of advantage” based solely on the Chief Justice’s constitutional position.
The ICJ will continue to follow developments in the case.
On 8 August Stipendiary Magistrate Anthony E. Dudley of the Magistrates’ Court of Gibraltar, ruled against the application of Chief Justice Schofield for a stay of prosecution in proceedings against him for a violation of the Motor Vehicles Test Regulations.
The application for a stay of prosecution was considered from 26 to 28 July. The ICJ, through its trial observer Justice Robert Nicholson of Australia, observed proceedings on 26-27 July.
The ICJ’s mandate includes the promotion and protection of the independence of judges worldwide. The observer was tasked with monitoring proceedings to determine that they were being conducted in accordance with international standards relating to the right of a defendant to a fair trial.