AG a ‘no show’ in Court: Judge recuses self from case

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Justice Franklin Holder has recused himself from the matter in which Attorney General, Basil Williams was “disrespectful”.

The matter in which Carvil Duncan is challenging his removal from the position of Chairman of the Public Service Commission (PSC) by the Government, and in which the AG is representing the Government was this morning (Monday, May 08, 2017), forwarded through the Chief Justice and Chancellor for reassignment.

On March 23, 2017, the AG portrayed behaviour termed as “insulting, disrespectful and contemptuous” towards the Judge, forcing him to leave his bench without adjourning the matter. Justice Holder later noted that he is not prepared to hear Mr Williams as an Attorney-at-Law in any matter whatsoever unless he makes a genuine and meaningful apology in open Court.

However, when the case was called on Monday morning after a date and time was set by the Chancellor of the Judiciary for its continuation, Williams was a ‘no show’. Instead, he was represented by Attorney-at-Law, Judy Stuart and Coleen Liverpool.

The Judge said he does not regret his choice to exit the courtroom as opposed to citing the AG for contempt of Court on that day since it has given him the opportunity to think the matter over, and also Williams the opportunity to apologise, which he did not.

Justice Holder recounted what transpired on March 23, 2017, but went on to state that his letter to the Chancellor was incomplete since “wearing another hat” (Minister of Legal Affairs), the AG has chosen to politicise the matter in the ensuing weeks.

Maintaining that the AG was in contempt of court, the Judge noted that the Court must remain objective. As such, he added that he does not wish to lend any more service to the “machinations” that has now been developed in this matter.

Affirming that his decision to recuse himself from the matter is not recent, he noted that it is not informed by “any skewed, illogical and improper reasoning expressed by some reported in the press but is one deeply rooted in my recognition and appreciation of what is required in the circumstances and in the interest of the administration of justice.”

Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo recently wrote a letter to the Attorney General asking for Justice Holder to recuse himself from the case.

Seeming at a loss for words, Carvil Duncan’s representative, Attorney at Law, Anil Nandlall noted that the Judge’s decision to recuse himself has both positive and negative implications.

 

He is concerned that this may lead to a perception that the Judiciary buckled under pressure.

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