Attorney General denies threatening High Court Judge
Attorney General, Basil Williams is not denying that he used the phrase “he is dead now” to refer to a Magistrate while in conversation with a High Court Judge yesterday (Thursday, March 23, 2017). However, he sought to clarify that the use of the words were not meant to be a threat, but to ensure that there is no misunderstanding that the person is still around.
Former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall alleged that Williams issued a ‘death threat’ against High Court Judge, Justice Franklin Holder. Nandlall alleged that the Attorney General “baselessly and unfairly accused the Judge of not accurately recording the evidence. The Judge rightfully took umbrage to the accusation. An angry Williams in a loud tone of voice repeated the accusations. The Judge, again admonished him about the accusation and about his tone of voice, Williams then blurted out loudly, “the last Magistrate who did that to me was later found dead… and I am saying so… that the last Magistrate who did this to me was found dead.”
The Former AG’s comment was also published by some media houses.
The incident occurred during the cross-examination of Mr. Carvil Duncan and his Secretary on Thursday in the High Court surrounding conflict in the affidavits. Duncan filed a legal challenge against the attempt to remove him as Chairman of the Public Service Commission, a member of the Police Service Commission and a member of the Judicial Service Commission.
Speaking to media personnel today (Friday, March 24, 2017), Williams said he sought to find out from the Judge whether the answer “No” from Duncan’s Secretary in relation to “since she received all Mr. Duncan’s mail directly…if she made a record of the mail received”, was recorded.
His reason for doing so followed Justice Holder’s call to take the adjournment, but “I (Williams) prevail upon him to answer a final question from the secretary.”
Williams said “he (the Judge) interpreted my question as suggesting that he deliberately did not record an earlier “Yes” that was given by the witness.” He added that the interpretation has to do with an earlier question asked where the answer was not recorded after the questioning was allegedly interrupted by Nandlall.
To ensure that there was no further misunderstanding, the Attorney General said he began outlining a case from years ago where he was being misinterpreted; something which led him to ensure that whatever he say to the courts, is very clear.
He noted that some years ago during a conversation, a Magistrate asked him “is that how they thought (you) at Law School?” to which he responded, “well you know I pass all my subjects.” The following week, the same Magistrate approached him to say he understood the words to mean that “I pass my subjects because he failed his” and proceed to cite him for contempt. Williams concurred that he added “he is dead now” referring to the Magistrate, however, he said this was just to so that no one “think he is around.”
The Attorney General used the opportunity to raise other concerns in relation to the conduct of the Former Attorney General during the cross-examination.
“The cross-examination wasn’t going well for Mr. Nandlall and as a result, he was interrupting all the time (this has happened before). Mr. Nandlall took over the Courtroom for the entire proceeding in the morning, he was prompting the witness, making signs with his face, making sounds with his throat and repeatedly was warned by the Judge,” Williams related.
In this regard, he believes Nandlall is trying to “camouflage” his actions “with this outrageous contention about the threat.”
The Attorney General has also planned to file a lawsuit against media houses which published the comment.
“This is a case I will take to court because I’ve repeatedly had to deal with allegations made against me by Kaieteur News, I did this, I did that, and all of those things are unfounded so we’re gonna take Court Action, whatever they do it doesn’t matter to me. Enough is enough!” he said.