Two days after the President of the Guyana Bar Association (GBA) Chris Ram, stormed out of the Camp Street Prison Commission of Inquiry (CoI) withdrawing the group’s participation, the Commission Chairman retired Justice James Patterson has come out swinging at Ram for what he deemed a display of childishness.
At the time of the stormy walkout Ram had raised concerns that members of the bench were not being treated equally with the Guyana Prison Service and Fire Service Attorneys being given more time to question witnesses.
This was since the members of the other side of the bench were being given 20-30 minutes to ask their questions which was at the sole discretion of the Commission Chairman.
Patterson in a release on Thursday defended the posture that was adopted saying it was necessary to ensure that the Commission wraps up its work in time.
“The Commission has been hamstrung, understandably, by time constraints for reasons which are well publicized, for the conclusion of its mandate in a matter of weeks from henceforth,” he said later adding “this guillotine on the time given to counsel to conclude cross examination, especially where irrelevance infiltrates, is necessary for otherwise counsel would proceed inexorably on.”
Patterson said the Commission has been unusually charitable to Ram whose forte clearly is not the art of the advocate noting his appearance has been pro bono, for the public good, and such appearances are clearly to be commended.
It was stated that Chairman of the Commission, caught in the cross fire of the fiercely contending parties, has on a regular basis incurred the wrath of both counsels – Ram and Mr. Selwyn Pieters.
“Ram, however routinely displayed a degree of petulance when his extravagant demands were disallowed. His routine unwillingness to abide by the rulings of the Chairman has been outrageous. Mr. Christopher Ram automatically reflects his displeasure by displaying the tantrums of a five-year-old who cannot get his own way on the ball field,” the release stated.
Pattersons said that the degree of petulance and disrespect is something that he has not seen in nearly fifty-five years of practice since his call to the English Bar.
“It is unfortunate that practitioners like Mr. Christopher Ram have traduced this glorious heritage and lofty in exchange for the standards and mores of a cad and bounder. The linguistic and behavioural glory that once prevailed, yes, right here in Guyana, have yielded to the conduct and manners of the gutter even in, as I am told, in our Courts of law and certainly in our Courts of Inquiry. Yes, we can disagree without being disagreeable while submitting with grace to lawful and established authority,” Patterson stated.