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Former Gun Court magistrate named chief magistrate

  • Joy Ferguson-Pratt.

Guardian Senior Reporter

Published: Oct 22, 2013

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Former Gun Court Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt has been sworn in as chief magistrate, signaling an end to a specialized court for firearms matters.

Ferguson-Pratt took her oath of office on Monday in front of family members in the chambers of Chief Justice Sir Michael Barnett.

Speaking to the media after the ceremony, Ferguson-Pratt confirmed that a dedicated Gun Court will no longer exist.

She said, “I was the magistrate that was dealing with all firearms matters in the country, and I still have quite a calendar for those matters.

“I’m continuing with those matters but any one of my colleagues [is] more than qualified to take on that challenge. I will continue with gun matters but of course with my administrative responsibilities, some of those matters would have to be transferred to my colleagues.”

Ferguson-Pratt served as an assistant director of prosecution in the Office of the Attorney General when she was named Gun Court Magistrate in 2011. The former government reintroduced the Gun Court to expedite firearms cases.

She was appointed acting chief magistrate in July after then Chief Magistrate Roger Gomez was promoted to the Supreme Court bench in June.

The post of deputy chief magistrate, which also became vacant in June with the appointment of Carolita Bethell to the Supreme Court, remains unfilled.

Ferguson-Pratt said she did not know when the position would be filled.

She said, “At the pleasure of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, I am sure that will be filled.”

She added that she did not know whether any additional magistrates would be appointed.

Ferguson-Pratt thanked God for the appointment. She said her deceased parents had instilled values like hard work and giving sacrificially.

“I work with a wonderful cadre of professionals, who I am privileged to be their team leader and I’m assured of their support as we moved forward,” she said.

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