AG’s behaviour in Court can lead to “disbarment”- Ramkarran
Failing to apologise to High Court Judge, Justice Franklin Holder, Attorney General, Basil Williams can face a penalty as severe as disbarment. This was highlighted by Senior Counsel Ralph Ramkarran.
Wiliams on March 23, 2017, during the cross-examination of a witness in the matter of the Application by Carvil Duncan, told the Judge “I could say what I want to say and when I want to say it, I have always been like that.” Those words along with “furthermore, the last Magistrate who did that to me was later found dead,” was deemed “insulting (and) disrespectful” by the Judge.
Ramkarran in his weekly blog noted that “Mr. Williams, a highly visible public figure holding one of the most important positions in Government, can avoid the sanction of the Judge by not appearing before him again; but this is not an option for a person holding his offices and especially since the matter has reached the Chancellor (ag) and the President.”
Justice Holder in his letter to Acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards said he is not prepared to sit to hear Mr. Williams as an Attorney-at-Law in any matter whatsoever, unless he makes a genuine and meaningful apology, in open Court.
According to Ramkarran, failing to offer a public apology, the Chancellor (ag) can convene the Full Court and set in motion the process to hear a complaint of misconduct against Mr. Williams. This is where he added that “Full Court can impose a penalty as severe as disbarment.”
Regarding an apology, Williams said to media personnel at the Ministry of Legal Affairs, “I don’t know about apology” when questioned last Wednesday (March 29, 2017).
The Attorney General’s behaviour on March 23, saw the Judge proceeding into his chambers without adjourning the matter, however, Ramkarran noted that had the Judge cited Mr. Williams for contempt in the face of the Court and he was found guilty, “he could have been fined or worse, imprisoned.”
He concluded his blog by highlighting that the matter can be brought to an end by the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs himself.