May 07, 2017 News
Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo, is asking for Justice Franklyn Holder to recuse himself from the Carvil Duncan matter which is scheduled to resume tomorrow.
In a letter dated Thursday, May 4, 2017, Nagamootoo told Attorney General, Basil Williams, that he (the PM) was a respondent in the Duncan matter.
Citing the now infamous March 23 incident between Williams and Justice Holder, the PM said that he is of the opinion that his lawyer– the AG– will not receive a fair hearing.
Nagamootoo gave a number of reasons for his belief. He pointed out that the Judge had the power to handle the alleged incident between himself and the state’s Attorney General amicably in court, instead of choosing to retire to his Chambers without the formal rising of the Court.
Another important factor was the fact that the judge had written the Chancellor of the Judiciary, Yonette Cummings-Edwards, requiring Williams apologise in open court before the matter can be continued.
Nagamootoo, in his letter which was released to the press, also noted that the Chancellor had forwarded the matter to President David Granger who is a party to the court matter.
“Based on all the above mentioned grounds, I am of the opinion that I would be prejudiced in the suit because my attorney (AG) is barred from being heard in the matter. In view of the foregoing, therefore, I authorize you to request that the Honourable Mr. Justice Holder recuse himself from further hearing the matter.”
Nagamootoo said he is copying the petition to the Chancellor and Chief Justice Roxanne George-Wiltshire and also to President Granger.
On Thursday, the Chancellor in a statement said that the matter would be resuming Monday, despite the unresolved feud between Williams and Justice Holder.
The statement would have come more than a month after the dispute during a hearing into the legal challenge by Duncan over the tribunal, which was established to determine his removal from a number of State boards.
Justice Holder had, following the court incident, filed an official report with the Chancellor, outlining what he termed as egregious and offensive behaviour on the part of the AG. He demanded an apology from Williams.
However, the AG, on the other hand, refused to apologise. He instead asked that the Judge recuse himself from the Carvil Duncan matter.
In setting the matter to be continued tomorrow, the Chancellor had noted that to date, Williams has not directly responded to the charges.
The AG had continued to deny the contention of Justice Holder. In a letter to President David Granger, last month, the Attorney General contended that the Judge could not lawfully, almost two days after the incident in court, and by letter, purport to raise accusations of contempt against him for what he alleged occurred in his Court previously.
It is alleged that during cross-examination of Duncan’s confidential secretary, 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.
Reports had circulated 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 in his complaint sent to the Chancellor of the Judiciary regarding the matter said that he felt disrespected by the Attorney General’s behaviour. Williams emphasised in his letter to the President that such a matter shouldn’t have even gained [the President’s] attention.
The AG had argued that Justice Holder did not inform, warn or in any manner convey that he considered he was being contemptuous before he left the courtroom that day and was, therefore, functus officio.”
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