Mar 30, 2017 News
High Court Judge, Justice Franklin Holder, has described the utterances of Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Basil Williams as disrespectful. Justice Holder’s contention was communicated to Justice Cummings-Edwards who is now performing the functions of Chancellor of the Judiciary.
The incident is said to have occurred during last Thursday’s court proceedings when the confidential secretary of Chairman of the Public Service Commission, Carvil Duncan faced questions regarding notification of the Prime Minister, towards the establishment of the tribunal to address the matter relating to his removal from the constitutional offices.
According to an account given by the former Attorney General Anil Nandlall who is counsel for Duncan, the current AG had uttered words to Justice Holder which can be interpreted as a threat.
Based on Justice Holder’s account seen by this newspaper, Williams would have asked the secretary a question to which he had recorded ‘yes’. This answer was soon changed following statements being made by the witness during cross examination about a specific document. In addition Williams had indicated that he wished to admit that document into evidence.
Justice Holder further recounted that Williams would have made statements suggesting that he did not believe the ‘yes’ was recorded.
The Judge said in his letter, “Mr Williams’ misconception of this part of the evidence, I then read aloud the record of the court in this regard. I further offered that he, may ask the witness the question again if he so desired, since the record showed that there was no answer to the questions. Mr Williams did not do so.”
As the proceeding continued, Williams asked a question to which the confidential secretary had responded with a ‘no”. According to Justice Holder, Williams had then said that the ‘no’ should be recorded. “I then said to him that a record is being made that the witness did say “no…I then told Mr Williams that I took umbrage to his tone and what he was insinuating, which was in effect, that the court was being selective in recording the evidence.”
Following this, Justice Holder in his letter said that the Attorney General told him that the last person that told him what he should not say was a Magistrate who is now dead.
According to Justice Holder, this episode was further compounded when Williams told him that Nandlall would have interrupted the court all morning and that he did nothing to address it.
“This was followed by a most egregious statement by Mr Williams, which is: “I could say what I want to say and when I want to say it, I have always been like that.” The judge said that at this point he chose to rise from his seat and depart into his chambers.
Within his letter, the Judge expressed to the Chancellor that Williams can redeem himself if he offers an apology in open court; failing, he would not hear any matter involving the Attorney General. This can have implication for the Carvil Duncan matter.
Meanwhile, the Attorney General has responded to Justice Holder’s letter to the Chancellor by issuing a press statement on the issue. This statement was circulated to the media at a press conference called by the AG at his Chambers yesterday.
Members of the media were prepared to address the issue with Williams; however, the Attorney General only had one item on his agenda, which was to present the Guyana Government Prize to Ms Latoya Roberts, the best Guyanese graduating law student from the Hugh Wooding Law School.
Before leaving the boardroom, Williams was asked if he will offer an apology as is requested by Justice Holder.
“I admire the Judge for the declaration that the allegation that I threatened to kill him and all of that nonsense, that it is not so. I suppose that with the office I’m in, these allegations will keep cropping up.”
Pressed again on whether he would apologise since Justice Holder has said he will not ‘hear’ him without an apology, Williams said that the media should refer to his written statement. He added however, that the issue of an apology will not be discussed now and that it will be dealt with at the right time.
In his press statement, the Attorney General said that he thanks Justice Holder for doing the right thing and exposing the iniquity of Nandlall.
“The Attorney General empathises with Justice Holder for the unrelenting torture he was subjected to that morning by Nandlall. The Attorney General believes that, after nearly three hours of ‘barracking’ by Nandlall any reasonable person could fall prey to ‘transferred frustration.”
According to Williams’s statement it is possible that his detaining of the Judge again as he was preparing to leave the Bench, seeking clarity on whether the witness’ answer of ‘no’ was recorded, induced certain misapprehensions in the Judge’s mind making the Attorney General a victim of ‘transferred frustration’.
His statement went further to say that the matter involving two top leaders of the Country, the President and Prime Minister ought to have been conducted in a court room equipped with a ‘Voice Verbatim Digital Recording System’.
“Such a system would give a court, a verbatim record of its proceedings and an immediate print out if required. Nandlall would have been unable to have all the Judges gathered on his allegations, where a verbatim record existed. In the result both Justice Holder and the Honourable Attorney General were left exposed to the ‘Crassness’ of Nandlall.”
Guyanese you are being prostituted by your politicians!
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