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Full Court to decide on $20 million judgement for Jagdeo’s defamation of Ferguson

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 October 2021, 17:00 by Denis Chabrol

The Full Court will soon decide whether Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo will have to go ahead and pay a GY$20 million default judgement to opposition lawmaker, Annette Ferguson for defaming her.

Mr. Jagdeo is challenging Justice Sandra Kurtzious’ decision. His lawyer, Davendra Kissoon said there was no real prospect of success if the defence of justification is to be advanced.

His argument that  parallel proceedings had not been considered by Justice Kurtzious did not find favour with the Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire who asked him whether an application had been made for the cases to be heard or consolidated together. Mr. Kissoon said he was unware but he was merely relying on an annotation on a fly sheet.

Justice Priya Sewnarine-Beharry is also a member of the Full Court panel.

Mr. Kissoon wants the Full Court to find that a reference by the House Speaker about three house lots amounted to a “substantial truth” and further that the appellant had stated that it is a low-income house lot. He said a slight inaccuracy of one or more will not prevent someone from being succeeding that it is true.

Attorney-at-Law, Lyndon Amsterdam, for Ms. Ferguson, highlighted that his client had not applied for default judgement until 10 months after she could have done so.

In clear reference to the declaration of the People’s Progressive Party as the winner of the 2020 general elections on August 2,  Mr. Jagdeo’s lawyer, Anil Nandlall who is now the Attorney General, should have notified

Once August 3rd came about, the appellant should have been dispatched a notice about the change in legal representation.

Mr. Amsterdam said the application for default judgement was not made until February and the affidavit does not say when the appellant hired new counsel, adding that inadvertence applies up to August 5.

He said if Mr. Jagdeo was following up on the case, someone else would have had five months to review the file and to observe that defence was not indeed filed so any blame cannot be put squarely on the initial counsel for the appellant. He said the authorities frown on inadvertence on the part of the attorney and that section required a higher standard than arguable defence.

Mr.  Amsterdam is Friday expected to file a cadastral plan for the area, showing the acreage of all of the lands in the area where Ms. Ferguson lives.

She is a former Minister of Public Infrastructure and Minister responsible for Housing under the coalition-led administration.

Justice Kurtzious had said the allegations, including Ms. Ferguson being “corrupt”, made by Mr. Jagdeo were very serious and he even dared her to sue him. She said no proof had been provided by Mr. Jagdeo and even when Ms. Ferguson had provided proof that she had only owned one house and land at a news conference, Mr. Jagdeo had not taken that into consideration.