Fiona Robinson sworn in as first lady Supreme Court judge


12-January-2013

 

Ms Robinson taking her oaths before President Michel

She replaces Judge Duncan Gaswaga, a Ugandan, whose term has come to an end and will be winding up his court cases within the next three months.

Present at the ceremony were Vice-President Danny Faure, Chief Justice Fredrick Egonda-Ntende, the President of the Court of Appeal Francis McGregor, judges of the Supreme Court, Attorney General Ronny Govinden, court registrar Jeanine Lepathy and members of the Constitutional Appointments Authority (CAA).

Also standing very proud as Mrs Robinson was being sworn in, were her parents Patrick and Daphne Saunders and her sister, Wendy Pierre, who is also the chief executive of the Seychelles International Business Authority (Siba).

In a souvenir photograph with President Michel, Vice-President Danny Faure, CJ Egonda-Ntende and Court of Appeal President Francis MacGregor

Garbed in the judge’s red robe and wig, Mrs Robinson (née Laporte) swore first to protect, defend and uphold the Constitution of Seychelles and in the second instance, to serve as judge in accordance with the Constitution and the laws of Seychelles, “without fear, favour, affection or ill-will”.

President Michel expressed his congratulations to Justice Fiona Robinson after taking up her post.
 
“This is another important milestone for Seychelles as we now have five Seychellois judges in the country, of which two are female judges.

  We expect the judiciary to work hard to serve the people of Seychelles and with your energy and expertise, you will undoubtedly contribute to the improvement of the legal system,” said President Michel.
 
Speaking to the press, Mrs Robinson said she had applied for the post of Puisne judge, which was advertised by the CAA, followed all established procedures and was delighted at her appointment.

Rather emotionally, she said: “It is an honour to serve my country as judge,” adding that she will assume her duties with immediate effect and will serve in accordance with the Constitution and laws of the land.

Ms Robinson with her parents and sister

Mrs Robinson, 38, grew up at Mont Fleuri, where she was also schooled at primary level.

 She later went to the National Youth Service (NYS) and then proceeded to the school of humanities and sciences at the Seychelles Polytechnic, where she studied English, Economics and History.

The new judge studied for her law degree at the University of Réduit in Mauritius, following which she joined the legal department in 2001.

Mrs Robinson started her legal career in 2001 as a state counsel at the Chambers of the Attorney General, where she was also nominated to form part of the Seychelles Maritime Delimitation Technical Committee and appointed as the legal advisor to the Seychelles Fishing Authority.

 In 2005 she was promoted to senior state counsel, and in 2007 to the post of principal legislative drafter.

In 2010, she was appointed director general of the Seychelles Maritime Safety Administration, as was the national coordinator for the GEF-Western Indian Ocean Marine Highway Development and Coastal and Marine Contamination Prevention Project.

 During this period Mrs Robinson was also a member of the high level committee on piracy.

From 2011 to 2012, she was a consultant with various ministries and organisations, where she worked on the drafting of laws as well as reports for the implementation of international conventions.

Her father, Patrick Saunders, health and safety manager with VJ Construction, said the family is proud that one of theirs has been appointed first lady judge of the Supreme Court.

She said Fiona had ambition and always pursued them with courage.
 Her equally happy mother, Daphne Saunders, urged all youths to take their studies seriously if they wish to succeed in life.

The only other lady member of the judiciary is Mathilda Twomey who sits on the Court of Appeal following her appointment in April 2011.

Ms Robinson’s appointment means that the number of Supreme Court judges remains six – including the Chief Justice – though some new appointments are expected within the next few months.

 These will all be non-Seychellois, since no other Seychellois nominees, besides Ms Robinson, were selected by the CAA.

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