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Prime Minister wants High Court judge, in spat with Attorney General, to stop hearing case

Worried that he and the State would not get a fair hearing, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo wants Justice Franklyn Holder to cease hearing a case because of the disagreement between the Attorney General, Basil Williams and that High Court judge.

Justice Holder has said that 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 to my satisfaction, in open Court, both to me and to the Members of the Bar, since they too were scandalized by his despicable conduct.”

Attorney-at-Law, Anil Nandlall did not immediately offer a reaction, when contacted.

From all indications, the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs would not be apologising, prompting the Prime Minister’s petition related to the case in which Carville Duncan is challenging his removal from the Public Service Commission, Judicial Service Commission and the Police Service Commission because of fraud charges against him.

“I am of the opinion that I would be prejudiced in the suit because my attorney is being 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 in the matter,” Nagamootoo told the Attorney General in a letter copied to President David Granger, Chancellor of the Judiciary Yonnette Cummings-Edwards and Chief Justice Roxanne George- Wiltshire.

Nagamootoo, a respondent in the matter, wrote the Attorney General in his capacity as his Attorney-at-Law, charging that as a result of the alleged incident on March 23, 2017 “I am of the opinion that neither the State nor I will receive fair hearing in the matter.”

Nagamootoo’s move follows a decision by the Chancellor of the Judiciary that the case would resume before Justice Holder next Monday (May 8, 2017).

No mention was made in the Chancellor’s statement that the Attorney General is being prevented from hearing in the matter.

The Prime Minister cited several reasons for petitioning that Justice Holder no longer hears the matter. They are that the judge had the power to handle the alleged incident between himself and the State’s Attorney General amicably in Court instead of retiring to his Chambers without the formal rising of the Court, the petition to Madame Chancellor requiring the State’s Attorney General to compulsorily apologise in open court before the Court’s continuation of the State’s matter and forwarding by the Honourable Chancellor of the petition aforesaid to the President who is a party to the Suit.

The Attorney General has not signaled that he would be willing to apologise to Justice Holder.

The High Court judge, in his complaint to the Chancellor, said he was offended by, among other remarks, “a most egregious statement by Mr Williams, that “I could say what I want to say and when I want to say it, I have always been like that.”

Justice Holder has described the Attorney General’s behaviour “to be insulting, disrespectful, and calculated to scandalise and lower the authority of the Court in the face of the Court.  “Mr Williams’ behaviour was highly contemptuous and deserving of him being cited for contempt in the face of the Court.