By Brushell Blackman
President David Granger has asked the Attorney General Basil Williams for an explanation with
regard to recent reports that during the trial of Carvil Duncan, he (Williams) allegedly made death threats against Justice Franklin Holder in the judge’s courtroom.
Addressing the issue at State House yesterday, the Head of State said that although the Attorney General has responded, he has asked Williams to provide a formal explanation on what transpired.
The President said that he sought the explanation based on what was reported to him and once that explanation is provided by the AG, he will respond to him. Granger also said that he will also respond to the acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards, since Justice Holder has written to the Head of the Judiciary on the matter.
Granger said that while he has heard one side of the story – Justice Franklin’s – he still needs to get the AG’s version of what transpired in the courtroom that day. The President explained that in law, the principle of hearing both sides of a story is applicable in this instance before any conclusions are drawn. However, the President was confident that when the issue has been properly ventilated, there will be a definitive resolution on the matter.
It is alleged that during cross examination of the confidential secretary to Carvil Duncan, Williams asked Justice Holder if a response that was given by the witness was properly recorded. The Judge took umbrage to Williams’s enquiry and reminded the AG that he was in charge of the courtroom and not Williams.
It is alleged that the AG then said that a classmate who was then a Magistrate that cited him for contempt some years ago is now incidentally dead. Justice Holder took offence to what Williams said, and at some point during the interface, Williams also told the Judge, “I could say what I want to say and however I want to say it, I have always been like that.”
Upon hearing that, the Judge rose from the Bench and went into his Chambers; he did not adjourn the matter, nor did he give any instructions to the parties, according to a letter of complaint addressed to Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag). Justice Holder said that he felt disrespected by the AG, but he did not say he was issued with any death threats in his letter to the (ag) Chancellor.
Williams denies he had threatened the Judge and said he was merely relating an incident that had some similarities to the one that he encountered in Justice Holder’s courtroom. Williams had threatened legal action against former Attorney General Anil Nandlall who first made the allegation. He also threatened legal action against media outlets that carried the story.
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