Court name
Supreme Court of Turks and Caicos Islands
Case number
CR-APM 7 of 2019

Crayton Higgs v. Regina (CR-APM 7 of 2019) [2020] TCASC 6 (20 February 2020);

Law report citations
Media neutral citation
[2020] TCASC 6
Case summary:

On 15 April 2019, the Appellant appeared before the Chief Magistrate and elected that his trial be put before the Supreme Court. The Crown did not consent to the Appellant’s election and the Chief Magistrate ordered that the trial be heard in the Magistrate’s Court. The learned Chief Magistrate, on 2 August 2019, refused to revisit her decision on the mode of trial made on April 15, 2019 on the ground that she was now functus officio and did not have jurisdiction to revisit the previous decision on the matter of venue.

Headnote and holding:

Appeal allowed. 

  1. Where an accused is brought before a Magistrate, the accused has an unfettered right to elect trial by judge and jury in the Supreme Court when charged with an either way offence (paragraphs 13, 27); see R v Jean Mathurin, CR 86/2013, TCI Supreme Court (NOT FOLLOWED); Kirkley Parker v R CRAP 21/2014, TCI Court of Appeal (CONSIDERED) 

  2. The Magistrate is not functus officio until the discharge of all judicial functions in the matter before the Magistrate. Therefore the Magistrate was not functus after her decision to refuse to reconsider the accused’s Mode of Trial (paragraphs 23 – 27); see R v Camberwell Green Magistrates’ Court ex parte Brown [1983] 4 FLR 767 (CONSIDERED); Gregory Raymond Pinder v R CRAP 14/2018, TCI Court of Appeal (FOLLOWED); Paynter v  Lewis (1965) 8 WIR 318 (FOLLOWED) 

  3. The Chief Magistrate did not fulfil her statutory obligations provided by section 18 of the Magistrate’s Court Ordinance and the case of Kirkley Parker v R CRAP 21/2014, TCI Court of Appeal as the Magistrate is required to carry out an enquiry to ascertain whether the offence charged in the information is within his jurisdiction. The Clerk may do this by stating briefly a summary of the facts. (paragraphs 16, 27); see Kirkley Parker v R CRAP 21/2014, TCI Court of Appeal (CONSIDERED) 

Ventour, J