ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Keith Thom, the newly appointed acting High Court judge, was showered with adoration by members of the bar when the May Criminal Assizes opened yesterday.
Among those offering congratulations to the former magistrate and prosecutor were Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Anthony Armstrong; attorneys John Fuller, Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin and Ralph Francis.
Benjamin called Thom’s appointment fitting and timely and expressed desires that the acting judge would remain permanently in the post.
“It’s a great honour to welcome you to the bench,” Benjamin said. “I know that justice will not only be done, but will be seen to be done. You deserve and earn it.”
Francis, who echoed Benjamin’s sentiments, also said that he is confident that Thom will discharge trust and his duty very well.
He said the acting judge is held in high esteem. Based on past interactions with Thom, Francis said he (Thom) will exhibit calmness during any rough patch.
Thom thanked everyone for the kind words noting that, “For me, the clock has turned in a full circle (from attorney, prosecutor, magistrate and now acting judge).”
The former magistrate said that it was good to be back in familiar surroundings despite the location being different. He reminisced about the old High Court building, now the home of St John’s Magistrates’ Court, which he said had no air conditioning and everyone had to battle the heat daily.
This term’s opening was somewhat different from those in the past as no arraignments took place. The jury had its orientation and everyone was asked to return to court next Tuesday.