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2019, április 22 - 11:00

Seychelles gets first female judge - 13.04.2011

Mathilda Twomey yesterday took her judicial and allegiance oaths before President James Michel at State House, becoming Seychelles’ first female judge.

Mrs Twomey takes her oaths before President Michel

She immediately started work as a judge of the Court of Appeal.

Present at the ceremony were Vice-President Danny Faure, speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Herminie, chief justice (CJ) Fredrick Egonda-Ntende, president of the Court of Appeal Francis MacGregor, former CJ Ranjan Perera, attorney general Rony Govinden, secretary of State for Cabinet Affairs Mohammed Afif and the chairman of the Constitutional Appointments Authority (CAA) Jeremie Bonnelame.

Also there were other judges of the Supreme Court and of the Court of Appeal, principal secretaries, members of the CAA.

Judge Twomey’s husband, Brian, her mother Georgette Butler-Payette, two of her four children, brothers and a sister also witnessed her being sworn in.

President Michel, Mrs Twomey, her family and close relatives pose for a souvenir photograph at the ceremony yesterday

Mrs Twomey thanked President Michel for the confidence he has shown in her and said she would do her duty to the people of Seychelles to the best of her ability and in a professional manner.

She said some laws need updating but in general she believes members of the judiciary are doing their best working together to give the best service.

She said her past involvement in politics as an adviser for the then Democratic Party – on the Constitution Commission – would not influence her work as a judge as she “intends to remain completely apolitical and to serve without fear or favour”.

“I’m delighted to come back to my country and serve,” she said, adding the only sacrifice she feels she will have to make is the surrender of her privacy.

Her husband is an artist who has worked in Seychelles for many years, she said, so moving back to Seychelles will not deny him the chance to practice his profession.

Mr MacGregor said Mrs Twomey is an intelligent person – with impressive qualifications – who will make very welcome contributions to the Court of Appeal, whose next sitting is scheduled for next Monday.

When he appointed her, Mr Michel said she would “become the first female judge in the history of Seychelles”.

“I congratulate her on her achievement and wish her well in her new post. I hope other young women will look to her for inspiration for a career in the judiciary in the future.

“Her appointment is another victory for Seychelles,” said Mr Michel.

Mrs Twomey (née Butler-Payette) practiced law in Seychelles between 1987 and 1995 as a senior state counsel and official notary, as well as a barrister/attorney undertaking criminal and civil litigation in courts and tribunals.
In 1992-93, she was a member of the Seychelles Constitutional Commission that drafted the Constitution of the Third Republic.

Since 1995 she has been living and working in Ireland. From 1996 she worked as a regional coordinator for Multiple Sclerosis Ireland, a non-governmental organisation working in advocacy, policy development and legal advice for people with disabilities.

She is about to complete a master’s degree in law at the University of Ireland and also has a degree in French law from the University of Paris Sud, France, as well a bachelor’s degree in English and French law from the University of Kent, UK.