Attorney says Tabor’s comment was ‘acceptable’

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An attorney has defended her colleague, Charlesworth Tabor’s right to make comments about a court’s decision against his client.
Attorney Tabor offered an apology after he publicly said that a decision made by Magistrate Ngaio Emmanuel in the All Saints Magistrate’s Court was “perverse” in the trial of his client George Wehner.
However, Nelleen Murdoch, an attorney-at-law with Simon Rogers Murdoch, said Tabor’s initial comment was not inappropriate.
“It is perfectly reasonable and acceptable for an attorney-at-law who has done a trial to comment on the decision of the court, by saying that in the attorney’s view, the decision was perverse. The term perverse verdict in law comprehends that the decision or verdict that was arrived at is against the weight of evidence,” Murdoch said.  
Tabor apologised in open court Thursday morning, then issued Magistrate Ngaio Emanuel a letter doing the same, and he subsequently spoke with the media indicating his regrets about what he had said.
In apologising, Tabor said that the comment he made in the “heat of the moment,” about the magistrate’s judgment brought her decision-making into disrepute.
In the apology letter which he shared with OBSERVER media, Tabor told the magistrate that having reflected on his words, he finds his comments to be unwarranted and was reflective of a poor decision.
The word ‘perverse’, an adjective, is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as, “showing a deliberate and obstinate desire to behave in a way that is unreasonable or unacceptable.”
However, Murdoch said that a “perverse decision” is a known phrase in law and is actually a position that a lawyer may use as grounds for an appeal. She said that perhaps Tabor apologised because he wanted to be sure he did not offend the court, but, she said the court had no reason to take offense.
“I don’t believe that the court comprehends or ought to comprehend when an attorney says a decision is perverse that the attorney is somewhat insulting the court or bringing the system into disrepute. In fact, cases are replete with instances where decisions of the lower court are appealed on the very basis that the decision is perverse,” she said.
Murdoch reached out to our newsroom when she heard a news item on Friday morning in which Tabor apologised. (Tameika Malone)

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