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Insurrection marks moment of reckoning for Republicans

Reprint (Adapted)

By STEVE PEOPLES

1 of 4Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., left, and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, right, speak after Republicans objected to certifying the Electoral College votes from Arizona, during a joint session of the House and Senate to confirm the electoral votes cast in November’s election, at the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was both stunning and predictable, the result of a Republican Party that has repeatedly enabled President Donald Trump’s destructive behavior.

When Trump was a presidential candidate in 2016, Republican officials ignored his call to supporters to “knock the crap out” of protesters. Less than a year after he took office, GOP leaders argued he was taken out of context when he said there were “very fine people” on both sides of a deadly white supremacist rally.

And last summer, most party leaders looked the other way when Trump had hundreds of peaceful protesters forcibly removed from a demonstration near the White House so he could pose with a Bible in front of a church.

But the violent siege on Capitol Hill offers a new, and perhaps final, moment of reckoning for the GOP. The party’s usual excuses for Trump — he’s not a typical politician and is uninterested in hewing to Washington’s niceties — fell short against images of mobs occupying some of American democracy’s most sacred spaces.

The party, which has been defined over the past four years by its loyalty to Trump, began recalibrating in the aftermath of Wednesday’s chaos.

One of his closest allies in Congress, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said “enough is enough.”

Another South Carolina Republican, Rep. Nancy Mace, said Trump’s accomplishments in office “were wiped out today.”

At least one senior White House staffer resigned, and more resignations were possible as the weight of the day’s events settled in.

But for the party to move forward, it will need to grapple with the reality that Trump in fact lost to President-elect Joe Biden by more than 7 million votes and a 306-232 margin in the Electoral College, a result Congress certified early Thursday when it finished accepting all the electoral votes.

Trump himself acknowledged his term was coming to a close but not that he had actually lost. “Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” he said in a statement minutes after Congress certified the vote. “I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!”

Former Republican President George W. Bush described the violent mob as “a sickening and heartbreaking sight.” He declined to call out Trump or his allies, but the implication was clear when Bush said the siege “was undertaken by people whose passions have been inflamed by falsehoods and false hopes.”

Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, a top House Republican and the daughter of Bush’s vice president, was much more direct in an interview on Fox News.

“There’s no question the president formed the mob. The president incited the mob,” Cheney said. “He lit the flame.”

While their criticism was searing, Bush and Cheney were already among a smaller group of Republican officials willing to condemn Trump’s most outrageous behavior at times. The overwhelming majority of the GOP has been far more reserved, eager to keep Trump’s fiery base on their side.ADVERTISEMENT

Still, Trump’s grip on his party appeared somewhat weakened when members of Congress returned to the Capitol Wednesday night, having spent several hours hiding in secure locations after being evacuated. Before they left, a handful of Republican senators and more than 100 Republican House members were set to oppose the vote to certify Joe Biden’s presidential victory.

It was a move led by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, each with his own 2024 presidential ambitions, over the objection of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who warned that that U.S. democracy “would enter a death spiral” if Congress rejected state election results.

When they resumed debate, however, much of the energy behind the extraordinary push had fizzled. Several Republicans dropped their objections altogether. Hawley and Cruz did not, but they offered scaled-back arguments.

Hawley condemned the day’s violence but also called for an investigation into “irregularities and fraud.” Earlier in the day, his hometown newspaper, The Kansas City Star, released an editorial charging that Hawley “has blood on his hands” for enabling Trump’s false claims.

Other Republicans were clearly more concerned about the day’s violence and the events that preceded them.

“Dear MAGA- I am one of you,” former White House aide Alyssa Farah tweeted. “But I need you to hear me: the Election was NOT stolen. We lost.”

Jefferson Thomas, who led Trump’s campaign in Colorado, expressed some regret about joining Trump’s team in the first place, calling Wednesday’s events “an embarrassment to our country.”

“This isn’t what I ever imagined when I signed up to #MAGA. Had I known then that this is how it would end, I never would’ve joined,” he wrote on Twitter.

And while there were obvious cracks in Trump’s grip on the Republican Party, his fiercest detractors came from a familiar pool of frequent critics.

Trump’s former secretary of defense, James Mattis, who denounced the president as a threat to the Constitution last year, described the violent assault on the Capitol as “an effort to subjugate American democracy by mob rule, was fomented by Mr. Trump.”

“His use of the presidency to destroy trust in our election and to poison our fellow citizens has been enabled by pseudo-political leaders whose names will live in infamy as profiles in cowardice,” Mattis charged.

Anthony Scaramucci, a former Trump, often has harsh words for Trump but offered his harshest on Wednesday for Trump’s Republican enablers.

“Republican elected officials still supporting Trump need to be tried alongside of him for treason,” he tweeted.

___

Trending on AP News GOP split over Trump, election runs across deep-red WyomingTrump supporters, other passengers in shouting bout on planeSomber Senate unites to reject election challengesby Taboola

Associated Press writer Meg Kinnard in Columbia, South Carolina contributed to this report.

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ECSC-logo

Brandt prevails in Court of Appeal – pretrial Constitutional issue on witnesses during trial

By Bennette Roach

Updated: December 18, 2020

As ZJB Radio report begins, “More interesting developments in the court matter involving attorney at law and former Chief Minister David S. Brandt.”

The question being asked more frequently now and in the face of other judicial areas where money would be better served, “Why is the local government allowing the UK to expend the amount of money on a trial that may have gone wrong ‘at’ the overdue time and the way it started? For another consultation and discussion.

We have referred to this ongoing matter as historical and it seems there is little end in sight for the matter to come to a conclusion. And, whereas by virtue of the nature of the case, which we believe has other motives involved, the public seems now to have lost interest in it.

The following was noted in the ruling/decision: “Several trial dates have been set and subsequently vacated on account of supervening litigation at the instance of the appellant over the past five years. To date, Mr. Brandt has not been tried,” Chief Justice the Hon. Dame Janice M. Pereira, DBE wrote.

East Caribbean Supreme Court
DPP Oris Sullivan
Helen Weekes QC – Lead prosecutor from the UK

The latest is the decision of the East Caribbean Court of Appeal dismissing appeals brought by the Attorney General (AG) and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) against a decision by His Lordship Justice Rajiv Persaud, who ruled that consistent with his constitutional rights, Mr. Brandt could not be prevented from cross-examining any witness at his pending criminal trial.

The background of the appeals came from: “…the DPP’s application’

Dr. Dorsett, who appears for Mr. Brandt in these appeals, was appointed by Persad J [Ag.], the learned judge of the High Court presiding over the criminal proceedings… to represent Mr. Brandt for the purpose of cross-examining the prosecution witnesses.

Dr. David Dorsett

[4] Mr. Brandt and Dr. Dorsett were equally aggrieved by the learned judge’s decision. Dr. Dorsett challenged his appointment as counsel for Mr. Brandt by way of CPR Part 56 proceedings, and Mr. Brandt, being desirous of cross-examining the prosecution witnesses himself, raised an objection to Dr. Dorsett’s appointment before the learned judge. Mr. Brandt’s position was that any restriction on his ability to cross-examine prosecution witnesses without the assistance of counsel, runs afoul of his rights to defend himself and to cross-examine witnesses under sections 7(2)(d) and 7(2)(e) of the Constitution of Montserrat2 (“the Constitution”).

Accused David Brandt

Mr. Brandt therefore urged the judge not to apply sections 287, 288, and 291 of the Criminal Procedure Code, on the basis that they are incompatible with his rights under the Constitution.
On 28th September 2020, the judge rendered an oral decision which was later reduced to writing, by which he concluded that sections 287, 288, and 291 of the Criminal Procedure Code infringe Mr. Brandt’s constitutional rights… and vacated his earlier orders limiting Mr. Brandt’s ability to cross-examine in person and appointing Dr. Dorsett for the purpose of doing so.
The DPP also applied under the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code to have special measures adopted for the taking of evidence from certain prosecution witnesses (“the special measures application”). In relation to the special measures application, the learned judge was satisfied on the evidence that the application ought to be granted and, on 5th October 2020, made orders permitting the Crown to lead evidence from three prosecution witnesses, who are complainants in the matter, through a video recording to be played in court as the evidence in chief pursuant to… the Criminal Procedure Code. The learned judge also granted leave to have the said three prosecution witnesses appear remotely from another location, outside the court, when they are required to be cross-examined on their evidence… and to have another prosecution witness, give evidence by video link.
Then came the Appeals.

The Attorney General and the DPP by way of appeal against the judge’s 28th September 2020 decision, in essence, challenged the correctness of the judge’s analysis and conclusions, and his order vacating Dr. Dorsett’s appointment as legal representative for Mr. Brandt.

The CPC Appeals were launched as civil appeals and not criminal appeals even though they do not originate from a constitutional motion or civil claim in the court below, and notwithstanding that they arise from a ruling by the learned judge within the context of the pre-trial case management hearing of Mr. Brandt’s criminal trial.

Mr. Brandt, at the same time, launched a criminal appeal challenging the learned judge’s 5th October 2020 decision in relation to the DPP’s special measures application (“the Special Measures Appeal”). The Special Measures Appeal challenges the judge’s orders sanctioning the prosecution’s use of special measures for the protection of certain prosecution witnesses.

Following the filing of these appeals, Mr. Brandt applied also on 15th October 2020 to strike out the CPC Appeals.
In similar vein, the DPP moved the Court to strike out the Special Measures Appeal, in essence on several grounds:
(i) The Special Measures Appeal does not fall within the scope of permissible appeals under section 38 of the Supreme Court Act as it is not an appeal against conviction or sentence;
(ii) There is no legal basis to mount an appeal to the Court of Appeal against a trial judge’s ruling on a pre-trial issue in a criminal trial…
(iii) The issue before the trial judge was well within the competence of a trial judge without there being any reliance upon or invocation of any section of the Constitution.

In the final decision, the Appeal Court ruled “on 11th November 2020 this Court unanimously dismissed three appeals brought respectively by the Attorney General, the Director of Public Prosecutions (“the DPP”) of Montserrat and Mr. David Brandt, following the consideration of submissions by the parties on this Court’s jurisdiction to entertain the appeals.”

First – “We are satisfied that the Attorney General in the circumstances has no standing as an appellant in this matter and, on that basis alone, it is sufficient to dismiss…”

In the circumstances, the Special Measures Appeal is clearly not permitted by the Supreme Court Act, is a nullity and must be dismissed…Agreed with Mr. Brandt “that this Court has no jurisdiction to hear either of the CPC Appeals. He argues that the appeals are caught by section 31(2)(a) and must be dismissed.”

And finally, “It is for all the above reasons [in the 50-clause decision] that the Court dismissed the CPC Appeals and Special Measures Appeals.”

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Update to CLICO policyholders

Clico International Life Insurance
Limited – Montserrat Branch
(IN JUDICIAL MANAGEMENT)

On 2 May 2014 the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in Montserrat ordered that Clico International Life Insurance Limited’s (“CLICO”) Branch operations in Montserrat (hereinafter referred to as “the Branch”) be placed under judicial management pursuant to Section 53 of the Insurance Act of the Laws of Montserrat at the request of the Supervisor of Insurance.

Russell Crumpler of KPMG (BVI) Limited was appointed as the Judicial Manager of the Montserrat Branch (hereinafter referred to as the “Montserrat Judicial Manager”).  We write to provide an update to Montserrat policyholders in respect of the wider Judicial Management of CLICO and, more specifically, the Judicial Management of the Branch. 

Further to a report filed in the Barbados Court by the Barbados appointed Judicial Manager of CLICO we understand that he has recommended to the Courts in Barbados, Grenada, Dominica, St. Vincent and Anguilla that the judicial management of CLICO be terminated, and that a liquidator appointed. 

Whilst the recommendation for the termination of the judicial management of CLICO and appointment of a liquidator is yet to be considered, we understand from the CLICO Judicial Manager that, as of 29 February 2020, all policies administered under CLICO ceased to be in effect. We understand that whilst all policies ceased to be in effect from 29 February 2020 onwards liabilities accrued to that date in respect of those policies will essentially be fixed. We further understand that this is with the intention of being able to calculate the amount owed under each policy for the purposes of potential future distributions.  We expect to be able to provide further updates on the appointment of the liquidator over CLICO and the effect the liquidation may have over distributions as the process develops.

Accordingly, we provide notice to all policyholders of the Branch that any premiums received for the period 1 March 2020 to date will be returned. We anticipate that the return of those premiums paid to the Branch will be completed by the end of December 2020, and no later than 31 January 2021.  

We also request that no further premiums are paid by Montserrat policyholders to the Branch either personally, or on their behalf by their employers. 

Where premiums are being paid on your behalf by your employer we will also be liaising with them to ensure they are aware that no further payments should be made (and where relevant no deductions).  

We will provide a further substantive update once the Barbados Court has delivered its final determination in respect of the recommendation for the termination of the judicial management and appointment of liquidator.  

In the interim, we thank you for your patience. Should you have any queries in respect of this notice or the information contained therein, please do not hesitate to contact Christina Rodriguez on behalf of the Montserrat Judicial Manager at christinarodriguez@kpmg.vg.

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TheHill.com

Rundown: Biden transition team to begin getting Pentagon intelligence briefings Monday

TheHill.com
Reprint

By Joseph Choi – 12/06/20

Biden transition team to begin getting Pentagon intelligence briefings Monday: report
© Getty Images

Members of President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team will receive briefings from Pentagon intelligence agencies on Monday, defense officials told CNN.

 “They are meeting with DoD intelligence agencies Monday and Tuesday of this week,” a senior defense official told the network.

The move follows news from last week that Biden’s team members were set to meet with military-run spy agencies this week, despite reports that the Trump administration was blocking these meetings.

The Department of Defense denied claims it was blocking such efforts, CNN reports, instead, pointing the finger at the transition team for the apparent delay.

“We can’t help them if they can’t read an org chart,” a defense official said to CNN.

According to CNN, several officials said Biden’s team had not followed agreed-upon arrangements when they reached out directly to intelligence agencies.

Another defense official told the news network, “That was more of an internal issue for the Biden team than a DoD issue.”

Officials also denied that Kash Patel, the new Pentagon chief of staff, had any hand in the transition process with one official saying, “Kash has delegated much of his responsibility to Tom (Muir).” The official added that Patel had not “edited or modified” briefing materials.

Biden’s transition process had been stalled for a little over two weeks after he was projected to be the winner of the presidential election. On Nov. 23, the General Service Administration ascertained Biden as the winner, allowing his transition team access to federal funds and allowing team members to begin coordinating with federal agencies.

According to Pentagon officials, this week’s meetings were scheduled prior to the reports that the administration was denying Biden’s team access to security agencies. Defense officials also shared that 47 interviews are currently scheduled for next week, including some with Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist.

Meetings on policy and international issues have reportedly already taken place. Due to the pandemic and the preferences of Biden’s team, nearly all of these meetings have been conducted virtually and not at the Pentagon, according to officials.

Tags Joe BidenBiden transitionDepartment of DefensePentagonIntelligence agencies

Giuliani has tested positive for coronavirus, Trump says

By Brett Samuels – 12/06/20

Rudy Giuliani, who has led President Trump‘s legal challenges to try to overturn the election, has tested positive for the coronavirus, the president said Sunday.

.@RudyGiuliani, by far the greatest mayor in the history of NYC, and who has been working tirelessly exposing the most corrupt election (by far!) in the history of the USA, has tested positive for the China Virus. Get better soon Rudy, we will carry on!!!” Trump tweeted.

.@RudyGiuliani, by far the greatest mayor in the history of NYC, and who has been working tirelessly exposing the most corrupt election (by far!) in the history of the USA, has tested positive for the China Virus. Get better soon Rudy, we will carry on!!!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 6, 2020

Giuliani is the latest member of Trump’s inner circle to contract the virus. Trump himself was infected and spent several days in the hospital in early October, and his chief of staff, multiple senior advisers, his press secretary, his campaign manager and his oldest son have all tested positive since.

The former New York City mayor is 76, putting him at a higher risk for serious complications from the virus.

Giuliani’s diagnosis comes roughly two weeks after his son, Andrew, who works in the White House, tested positive for the coronavirus. He held a lengthy, indoor, maskless press conference in late November with, among others, Trump campaign adviser Boris Epshteyn, who tested positive for COVID-19 shortly thereafter.

But the former New York City mayor opted not to quarantine in the time since as he serves as the lead lawyer for Trump in his unsuccessful bid to undermine the election results.

Instead, Giuliani has been traveling to battleground states and appearing at campaign events where he and some GOP lawmakers have levied allegations of voter fraud and argued that President-elect Joe Biden‘s victory is invalid. Giuliani has been to Michigan, Pennsylvania and Arizona in the past two weeks alone.

Giuliani has failed to produce any evidence of widespread fraud in court, with judges in Nevada, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin and Michigan all dismissing cases for lack of standing in recent weeks.

Trump has refused to concede defeat in the election, insisting without evidence that it was stolen or rigged. Attorney General William Barr said last week that his department has not seen any evidence thus far of widespread fraud that would change the outcome.

Tags Rudy GiulianiDonald TrumpJoe BidenWilliam BarrCoronavirusCOVID-192020 election

Four reasons Donald Trump will likely become a spent force

By Glenn. C. Altschuler, opinion contributor — 12/06/20

In a blistering and brilliant essay in The New York Review of Books, Fintan O’Toole maintains that although “the malignant presidency of Donald Trump seems moribund, [it is] also vigorously alive.” After all, life after death has been the “governing trope” of Trump, the bankrupt businessman, candidate and president. This fall, O’Toole writes, Trump crafted a narrative in which he contracted COVID-19 as a “Jesus-like self-sacrifice,” “died” at Walter Reed hospital and then rose again. Those who believe the system corrected itself in the 2020 election must confront a Republican base that is “immune to its results” because “everything is rigged against them” and “an afterlife that is not in the next world but in this one — the long posterity of Donald Trump.”

O’Toole may be right.

But a compelling case can also be made that while hyperpartisanship continues to poison American politics, Trump will become a spent force.ADVERTISEMENT

Here are four reasons that lend support to this conjecture:

1) A substantial number of Americans who embraced Trump because he advanced their evangelical or economic agenda or because he stuck a finger in the eye of the establishment may stop hanging on every tweet when he relinquishes the platform, prerogatives and power of the presidency. Other MAGA-hatters may conclude that reality TV is not nearly as engrossing when the boss can’t hire — or fire — any apprentices. A Gallup poll released on Nov. 30 finds that Trump’s approval among Republicans dropped six percentage points in the last month.

To help him command the attention of the mainstream media, cable news networks, talk radio and streaming services, Trump is apparently considering signing on with or buying into One America News Network or Newsmax. But the post-Nov. 3 spike in the previously modest ratings of these fledgling, conspiracy-driven outlets will probably be temporary. More important, any deal with competitors is certain to alienate Fox News, which now has fewer incentives to be “Trump TV.” Having provoked the president’s ire by declaring on election night that former Vice President Biden carried Arizona (which he did), Fox will in any event no longer give Trump unlimited access to its viewers.

2) Aspirants for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 are already stirring. A shortlist includes Vice President Pence, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), and former South Carolina Governor and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley. To remain relevant, Trump will hint that he will run again or declare his candidacy. Nonetheless, keeping all the hopefuls “as frozen in place as a COVID vaccine” for years will be difficult — especially if Trump begins to falter or fade and it seems likely he would be defeated in 2024.

3) The mountain of litigation Trump faces will very likely result in politically as well as personally damaging revelations about him. Courts will compel Trump to turn over records — including tax returns — and to testify under oath. New York Attorney General Letitia James and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance are investigating “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct,” including insurance and bank fraud connected to misrepresentation of assets. Even if Trump pardons himself and the Supreme Court were to affirm the action constitutional, he would not be immunized from prosecution by New York State.

The Internal Revenue Service will complete its audit of Trump’s tax returns. The House of Representatives has subpoenaed the financial records of the Trump Organization. Trump has been named an unindicted co-conspirator who violated campaign finance laws. In a defamation suit involving an allegation of rape, magazine writer E. Jean Carroll is seeking DNA evidence. Ivanka, Donald Jr., Eric, and Jared Kushner are likely to find themselves in legal jeopardy as well.

While Trump thus far has been adept at parlaying such legal challenges to his own political advantage, that is likely to change — despite his efforts — once he’s out of office and the cases actually proceed.

4) Legitimate questions have been raised about Trump’s health. Now 74 years old, Trump is obese, has a penchant for fast food, takes medication for high cholesterol and believes physical exercise drains the body of finite energy resources.

Despite his stated interest in returning to the White House in 2024, he may simply not be up to it. And that may become obvious — even to his base.

Prognosticators, Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush’s Secretary of Defense often emphasized, should always take into account known knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns (things we don’t know we don’t know).

As they peer into the future, pundits can bank on two known knowns about Donald Trump: His only motives are money, power, self-interest and self-promotion, and he will not stay — or go — anywhere quietly.

Glenn C. Altschuler is the Thomas and Dorothy Litwin Professor of American Studies at Cornell University. He is the co-author (with Stuart Blumin) of “Rude Republic: Americans and Their Politics in the Nineteenth Century.” Tags Donald TrumpNikki HaleyJosh HawleyMarco RubioTom CottonMike PenceTed CruzJared KushnerTrump presidencyTrump legal issuesTrump pollstrumpism

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JMC-OTs-family-photo-for-media-release-1

Policy paper UK-Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council 2020

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-overseas-territories-joint-ministerial-council-november-2020-communique/uk-overseas-terrirtories-joint-ministerial-council-2020-communique

Communiqué: Published 27 November 2020

Governor’s Office describes: OTs familyMontserrat Premier (c) top row

Contents

  1. The Minister for the Overseas Territories (OTs), Minister for European Neighbourhood and Americas, elected leaders, and representatives of the Overseas Territories met virtually as the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) from 23 – 26 November 2020. Ministerial colleagues from across the UK Government, including the Home Office, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice, Department of Health and Social Care and Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, and the Department for Transport also participated.
  2. Ministers, Territory leaders, and elected representatives were also pleased to welcome Children’s Commissioners for England and Jersey, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, and senior officials representing the UK Government.
  3. Ministers, Territory leaders, and elected representatives gave particular thanks to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales for his message of support. They also thanked the UK Prime Minister for addressing the Conference and welcomed the Prime Minister’s commitment to intensifying the partnership between the Territories and the UK Government.
  4. The JMC is the highest forum for political dialogue and consultation between the UK and elected leaders and representatives of the OTs for the purposes of providing leadership and promoting cooperation in areas of mutual interest. It provides a forum for the exchange of views on political and constitutional issues between the governments of the Overseas Territories and the UK Government; to promote the security and good governance of the Territories and their sustainable economic and social development; and to agree priorities, develop plans and review implementation.
  5. We continue to share a vision for the Territories as vibrant and flourishing communities, proudly retaining aspects of British identity and generating wider opportunities for their people.

1. Self determination

  1. The principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, as enshrined in the UN Charter, applies to the peoples of the Overseas Territories. We reaffirmed the importance of promoting the right of self-determination for the peoples of the Territories, something which is a collective responsibility of all parts of the UK Government. We committed to explore ways in which the Overseas Territories can maintain international support in countering hostile sovereignty claims. For those Territories with permanent populations who wish it, the UK will continue to support requests for the removal of the Territory from the United Nations list of non-self-governing Territories.

2. COVID-19 and the global health crisis

  1. The UK Government recognised the significant global impact and shared challenges of COVID-19, and congratulated the Territories on their handling of the response to the pandemic so far. The Territories thanked the UK for its outstanding support received both at the Ministerial and official level throughout the pandemic. The UK and Territories had worked together closely to tackle COVID-19 and this had underlined their strong links based on partnership, shared values, and mutual respect. The UK Government reaffirmed its continued support to the Territories during the pandemic and committed to supplying the Territories with COVID-19 vaccines. The UK and Territories shared information about challenges and successes around COVID-19 and committed to continue to work collaboratively to combat health crises, both now and in the future.

3. Economic resilience

  1. The UK is committed to supporting the Overseas Territories in building successful and resilient economies, and promoting the development and the wellbeing of its inhabitants. We recognise that although all are unique, the Overseas Territories, as small and open island economies, are particularly vulnerable to external shocks. Clear economic development plans, underpinned by strong public financial management, can help to create diverse and resilient economies in which people, businesses, and governments can look ahead to the future with confidence. The UK will support the Overseas Territories to increase their economic resilience through technical support and encouraging best practices in financial management.

The UK remains committed to meeting the reasonable assistance needs of Territories where financial self-sufficiency is not possible, as a first call on the aid budget. The UK will also consult the Overseas Territories on support programmes for the next financial year. In times of crisis, the UK stands ready to support the Overseas Territories, as happened following the hurricanes in 2017 and during the COVID-19 crisis. As a first step, the UK will look to the Overseas Territories to make full use of their financial resources to address their needs and will consider further requests for financial support on a case-by-case basis.

4. Exit from the European Union (EU) and trade

  1. The UK Government acknowledges that the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU) will impact on the Overseas Territories, particularly in the areas of eligibility for and access to funding, and trade.
  1. The UK Government has and continues to represent the interests of the Overseas Territories in the UK-EU negotiations, in particular on trade and funding programmes. The UK Government will also continue to engage meaningfully with the Territories and take their interests into account when negotiating new trading relationships with other partners around the world
  2. The UK Government will, in consultation with Territory Governments, take their interests and needs into account when designing future funding streams, programmes, and policies to promote the sustainable economic development of the Territories.
  3. The Territories’ links with the Commonwealth and United Nations will continue to be important. The UK is committed to strengthening these links. The UK also welcomes initiatives to develop links with regional organisations and with Territories and countries neighbouring the Overseas Territories.
  4. The UK Government and the UK’s devolved administrations confirm that students from the Overseas Territories will continue to be eligible for Home Student fee rates on the same basis as now, based on three years’ ordinary residence in an Overseas Territory or the UK.

5. Mental health

  1. The UK Government and the Overseas Territories re-affirmed their commitment to addressing mental health, recognising that “there is no health without mental health”. The importance of raising the awareness and understanding of mental health in our communities was discussed along with tackling the stigma that persists around mental health. We recognise that mental health affects all stages of life and that experiences in childhood can affect mental health in adulthood. It was also recognised that there is already work being done in this area in most OTs. Support from the UK is being provided through Public Health England and the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF). The United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA) will host a webinar on mental health in December 2020 for Territory and UK leaders and experts. It will provide an opportunity to have an open discussion on priority issues around stigma, mental health systems, and awareness campaigns. Overseas Territories and the UK committed to continuing the work to strengthen mental health systems to improve the lives of people with mental health problems, including children and young people, those with severe mental illness, and those in the criminal justice system.

6. Children

  1. We discussed the progress that has been made by Territories in relation to child safeguarding. We acknowledged that we cannot be complacent and that there is always more that can be done to ensure that children can grow up in an environment where they can be free from harm, flourish and meet their potential. We therefore re-affirmed our previous commitments to the highest standards of protection for children and a zero-tolerance approach to abuse. We heard from the Children’s Commissioners for England and Jersey about their roles in speaking up for children, influencing policy, assisting Governments and promoting children’s rights. We committed to consider exploring whether a Children’s Commissioner function or similar role might be appropriate for each Territory.

7. Domestic abuse

  1. We noted the increased incidence of domestic abuse globally, and the damaging effects both for individuals and for society. We acknowledged that tackling domestic abuse requires a holistic approach, including law enforcement, education, and medical professionals, and the criminal justice system. We spoke about the importance of challenging negative attitudes and behaviours and ensuring that victims are able to access the services that they need, when they need them. We heard about initiatives which our Territories are taking in this regard. We committed to identify opportunities and to take measures to tackle domestic abuse and to strengthen our system-wide response.

8. Prisons

  1. The Overseas Territories and UK recognise the unique context and needs of prisons in the Territories. We discussed shared challenges on prison reform and opportunities to work together for common objectives. The OTs and UK are committed to ensuring Territory prisons are safe, decent, and secure places of rehabilitation, compliant with human rights obligations that reduce reoffending and contribute to the security of local communities. Through the Ministry of Justice, the UK will continue to support Territories by providing expertise, project support, and by facilitating a network of experts across the Territories to support the development of tailored Territory prison standards.

9. Border security

  1. We noted the challenges faced globally, including in some Territories, of rising levels of illegal migration and border security issues and the subsequent impacts on society. We welcomed the ongoing work by the UK Government, through the new CSSF funded Border Security Programme, to help build capacity and capability in these areas. We discussed opportunities to build upon cross/multi-agency working to enhance cooperation and increase capability within the Territories. We committed to sharing best practices and lessons learned. We reaffirmed our shared interest in combating threats to our borders by working in partnership across the Territories and with the UK Government.

10. International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Instruments and Implementation (III) Code

  1. The UK reiterated that the representation of the UK and Overseas Territories in the international maritime arena is undertaken as a single entity by the UK on behalf of all and compliance with conventions is a shared collective responsibility.
  2. We recognise that a well-administered maritime infrastructure minimises the risks of a maritime incident in territorial seas and an up-to-date legislative framework provides the legal authority and enforcement powers to pursue the polluter to recover the high-level costs associated with such incidents. We continue to maintain our outstanding reputation for clean clear waters and promote our tourism with confidence. A successful III Code audit outcome will lay the foundations for future opportunities for the Territories through Blue Economies, for the Red Ensign Group to become a global leader on solutions for alternative marine technologies, and to share its expertise with others to drive forward improvements worldwide.
  3. The UK welcomed the ongoing commitment by the Territories to achieving III Code compliance and noted the investment in people and projects so far, whilst recognising the individual challenges. The UK reiterated its continued commitment to assisting the Territories through technical support and capacity building.

11. Environment/COP 26

  1. The Overseas Territories are the custodians of internationally important habitats, with rich and varied biodiversity, from Antarctica to the tropical oceans. Climate change and biodiversity loss has had, and will have, profound impacts on our natural environments, on our economies, and on our societies. Together we must act to tackle climate change and the loss of biodiversity.
  2. As coastal and island communities, our economies rely upon healthy and abundant marine environments. This year, Tristan da Cunha has put in place a vast marine protection zone, supported by the Blue Belt programme which now protects over 4 million square kilometers of ocean around the Territories. Building on the good work already undertaken, we will continue to enhance protection for our environments, both marine and terrestrial. The UK Government will meaningfully engage with the Overseas Territories to achieve local objectives that contribute to global targets for the environment, consistent with Sustainable Development Goals. Commitments to environmental funding such as Darwin Plus will support joint objectives to preserve the wonderful array of biodiversity across the Territories for generations to come, and to be an example to other communities in responding to the global biodiversity emergency.
  3. The Overseas Territories and the UK Government also pledged to work together to secure agreement on ambitious action to tackle climate change on a global scale at the COP26 Summit in Glasgow. By the time of the COP26 Summit, each government endeavours to communicate a territory-led plan for climate change adaptation and mitigation, which contributes towards global carbon emission reductions. The UK Government and Overseas Territories will continue to work together closely in the lead up to COP26, to ensure the Overseas Territories’ interests are represented. As the host of COP26, the UK Government endeavours to offer the Overseas Territories opportunities to showcase their environmental initiatives at the summit, including in areas such as transitioning to renewable sources of energy and disposal of waste. For both biodiversity and climate change actions, the UK Government commits to provide the Overseas Territories with technical and financial assistance where this is required.
  4. The UK Government and Overseas Territories welcomed the opportunity to come together as a Joint Ministerial council as a virtual forum and the opportunity this afforded all to have frank and open discussions on areas of mutual interest. We reiterated our commitment to deepening our unique partnership and looked forward to meeting together in person when the opportunity allows.

Posted in Announcements/Greetings, Business/Economy/Banking, Court, COVID-19, Crime, Featured, Features, General, International, Local, News, Politics, Regional, Security, UK - Brexit0 Comments

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The Current State Of Trump’s Attempt To Thwart The Election Result

HuffPost UK
Reprint

 by Chris York

Rishi Sunak dines at lavish private club days after freezing public sector payThe Masked Singer US unmasks Seahorse, Popcorn and Jellyfish

Rudy Giuliani wearing a suit and tie
© ASSOCIATED PRESS

You could be forgiven, amidst the latest incredible vaccine news, for temporarily forgetting that over in the US Donald Trump is still trying to contest an election that he most definitely lost.

In the latest installment of the bizarre saga, the president’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani testified in Michigan on Wednesday that the vote count was deeply flawed and president-elect Joe Biden had not won the state.

His star witness was Mellissa Carone, an IT contractor for Dominion Voting Systems which Trump’s team has accused – without evidence – of tampering with the result which was certified earlier this week.

Slurring her words and constantly interrupting, Carone claimed the record of the official vote numbers “is completely off” by “over 100,000”.

She then repeatedly interrupted panel member Republican Steve Johnson who said there was no evidence of the claims, leading Giuliani to reach over and appear to stop her.

And if that wasn’t enough entertainment, footage from the hearing also appeared to catch a very loud and abrupt fart from Giuliani which caused some incredible side-eye action from the unfortunate person sat next to him.

Yet despite the comedy value, the continued lies from the Trump campaign and its ongoing attempt to overturn democracy are having serious effects elsewhere.

Death threats are on the rise and local and state election officials are being hounded into hiding, the Associated Press reports.

A Trump campaign lawyer has declared publicly that a federal official who defended the integrity of the election should be “drawn and quartered” or simply shot.

Gabriel Sterling, a Republican election official in Georgia, gave one of the most disturbing press conferences in recent history on Monday as he implored the president to “stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence”.

He then detailed numerous cases of election officials receiving death threats and multiple accounts of harassment.

He said: “My boss, [Georgia secretary of state Brad] Raffensperger, his address is out there. They have people doing caravans in front of their house. They’ve had people come on to their property.

“Tricia, his wife of 40 years, is getting sexualised threats through her cellphone.

“It has to stop.”

Rudy Giuliani wearing a suit and tie
© ASSOCIATED PRESS

Giuliani’s response? Tough beans. 

“They’re the ones who should have the courage to step up,” Giuliani said Wednesday in Michigan.

“You have got to get them to remember that their oath to the Constitution sometimes requires being criticised.

“Sometimes it even requires being threatened.”

There is no evidence to support Trump or Giuliani’s claims of widespread voter fraud.

Attorney general William Barr said on Monday the Justice Department has not uncovered any that would change the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

The comments are especially direct coming from Barr, who has been one of the president’s most ardent allies, PA Media reports.

Before the election, he had repeatedly raised the notion that mail-in voter fraud could be especially vulnerable to fraud during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans feared going to the polls and instead chose to vote by mail.

Shortly after Barr’s statement was published, Trump tweeted out more baseless claims of voter fraud.

And his attorney Rudy Giuliani and his campaign issued a scathing statement claiming that, “with all due respect to the attorney general, there hasn’t been any semblance” of an investigation.

Related…

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US agency ascertains Biden as winner of US 2020 elections, lets transition begin

Reprint

Biden transition gets govt OK after Trump out of options

By MATTHEW DALY, ZEKE MILLER and MARY CLARE JALONICKtoday

1 of 2 FILE – In this June 21, 2019 file photo, General Services Administration Administrator, Emily Murphy speaks during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Department of Homeland Security’s St. Elizabeths Campus Center Building in Washington. The head of the obscure federal government agency that is holding up Joe Biden’s presidential transition knew well before Election Day she might have a messy situation on her hands well. Prior to Nov. 3, GSA administrator Emily Murphy held a Zoom call with Dave Barram, 77, a man who was in her shoes 20 years earlier during the contested 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. Barram said he gave her some simple advice, “If you do the right thing, then all you have to do is live with the consequences of it.’”(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The General Services Administration ascertained Monday that President-elect Joe Biden is the “apparent winner” of the Nov. 3 election, clearing the way for the start of the transition from President Donald Trump’s administration and allowing Biden to coordinate with federal agencies on plans for taking over on Jan. 20.

Trump, who had refused to concede the election, said in a tweet that he is directing his team to cooperate on the transition but is vowing to keep up the fight.

Administrator Emily Murphy made the determination after Trump’s efforts to subvert the vote failed across battleground states, citing, “recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results.” Michigan certified Biden’s victory Monday, and a federal judge in Pennsylvania tossed a Trump campaign lawsuit on Saturday seeking to prevent certification in that state.

Yohannes Abraham, the executive director of the Biden transition, said in a statement that the decision “is a needed step to begin tackling the challenges facing our nation, including getting the pandemic under control and our economy back on track.”

He added: “In the days ahead, transition officials will begin meeting with federal officials to discuss the pandemic response, have a full accounting of our national security interests, and gain a complete understanding of the Trump administration’s efforts to hollow out government agencies.”

Murphy, a Trump appointee, had faced bipartisan criticism for failing to begin the transition process sooner, preventing Biden’s team from working with career agency officials on plans for his administration, including in critical national security and public health areas.

“Please know that I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts. I was never directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official—including those who work at the White House or GSA—with regard to the substance or timing of my decision,” Murphy wrote in a letter to Biden.

Trump tweeted shortly after her letter was made public: “We will keep up the good fight and I believe we will prevail! Nevertheless, in the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same.”

Pressure had been mounting on Murphy as an increasing number of Republicans, national security experts, and business leaders said it was time for that process to move forward.

Retiring Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, who has repeatedly called for the transition to begin, released a new statement Monday saying that Trump should “put the country first” and help Biden’s administration succeed.

“When you are in public life, people remember the last thing you do,” Alexander said.

Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio on Monday called for Murphy to release money and staffing needed for the transition. Portman, a senior member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, also said Biden should receive high-level briefings on national security and the coronavirus vaccine distribution plan.

Alexander and Portman, who have both aligned themselves with Trump, joined a growing number of Republican officials who in recent days have urged Trump to begin the transition immediately. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., also urged a smooth transition, saying in a statement Monday that “at some point, the 2020 election must end.”

Meanwhile, more than 160 business leaders asked Murphy to immediately acknowledge Biden as president-elect and begin the transition to a new administration. “Withholding resources and vital information from an incoming administration puts the public and economic health and security of America at risk,″ the business leaders said in an open letter to Murphy.

Separately, more than 100 Republican former national security officials — including former Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, former CIA Director Michael Hayden, and former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte — said in a statement that Trump’s refusal to concede and allow for an orderly transition “constitutes a serious threat” to America’s democratic process. The officials signing the letter worked under four Republican presidents, including Trump.

The statement called on “Republican leaders — especially those in Congress — to publicly demand that President Trump cease his anti-democratic assault on the integrity of the presidential election.”

Trump had publicly refused to accept defeat and launched a series of losing court battles across the country making baseless claims of widespread voter fraud and seeking to overturn the election results.

Murphy missed a deadline on Monday set by House Democrats to brief lawmakers about the delay in beginning the transition, which is usually a routine step between the election and the inauguration. A spokeswoman for the GSA said that a deputy administrator would instead hold two separate briefings for House and Senate committees on Nov. 30.

In response, the Democratic chairs of four committees and subcommittees said they could reschedule the meeting for Tuesday, but no later.

“We cannot wait yet another week to obtain basic information about your refusal to make the ascertainment determination,” the Democrats said in a letter to Murphy. “Every additional day that is wasted is a day that the safety, health, and well-being of the American people is imperiled as the incoming Biden-Harris administration is blocked from fully preparing for the coronavirus pandemic, our nation’s dire economic crisis, and our national security.”

Portman said it was “only prudent” for GSA to begin the transition process immediately.

“Donald Trump is our president until Jan. 20, 2021, but in the likely event that Joe Biden becomes our next president, it is in the national interest that the transition is seamless and that America is ready on Day One of a new administration for the challenges we face,″ Portman wrote in an op-ed calling for the transition to begin.

Murphy’s ascertainment will free up money for the transition and clear the way for Biden’s team to begin placing transition personnel at federal agencies. Trump administration officials had said they would not give Biden the classified presidential daily briefing on intelligence matters until the GSA makes the ascertainment official.

“Now that GSA Administrator Emily Murphy has fulfilled her duty and ascertained the election results, the formal presidential transition can begin in full force,” said Max Stier, president, and CEO of the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service. “Unfortunately, every day lost to the delayed ascertainment was a missed opportunity for the outgoing administration to help President-elect Joe Biden prepare to meet our country’s greatest challenges. The good news is that the president-elect and his team are the most prepared and best equipped of any incoming administration in recent memory.”

Among those signing the letter from business leaders were Jon Gray, president of the Blackstone private equity firm; Robert Bakish, president and CEO of ViacomCBS Inc.; Henry Kravis, the co-chief executive of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., another private equity giant; David Solomon, CEO at Goldman Sachs; and George H. Walker, CEO of the investment firm Neuberger Berman and a second cousin to former President George W. Bush.

https://apnews.com/article/election-2020-joe-biden-donald-trump-ap-top-news-coronavirus-pandemic-04f44843e63aad2820bc72640cca2e83

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Court, Elections, International, Local, News, Politics, Regional0 Comments

Attorney-Jean-Kelsick

Justice Morley spotlighted for ‘recusals’

Recusal is not a word heard often in Montserrat and probably not before the turn of the century, and probably only once before recent occurrences. Now from mid-2019 to now.

Justice Iain Morley

From then there has been a spathe of ‘recusals’ of High Court judges in the Montserrat High Court of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court mostly involving His Lordship Justice Iain Morley.

We thought it might be beneficial to you at this time to know the general meaning of the word, ‘recusal’: “To disqualify or seek to disqualify (a judge or juror) from participation in the decision in a case, as for personal prejudice against a party or for personal interest in the outcome.” In another but similar meaning: (law) the disqualification of a judge or jury by reason of prejudice or conflict of interest; a judge can be recused by objections of either party or judges can disqualify themselves.

We recall in our welcome to Mr. Morley via an exclusive interview regarding his tour of duty with the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC). https://www.themontserratreporter.com/new-high-court-judge-iain-morley.

Attorney Warren Cassell

The interview sought his reaction to the welcome he received in Montserrat, and “generally how he plans to address his work; his vision for the court in Montserrat; in light of the new vision that the Hon Chief Justice has been encouraging – equal justice and fairness.”

It is Justice Iain Morley who has now found himself a subject of recusals over the past year.

Justice Morley was the first installed for the trial, The Queen vs David Brandt long-standing case from 2015, and once again set for a hearing some time next year. Morley recused himself willingly, but his replacement, retired Justice Gareth Evans QC flown in from the UK to replace him after revoking Brand’s bail and remanding him to prison, was later also requested Attorney Dr. David Dorsett to recuse himself from the Brandt matters.

He refused to be recused in a 90-clause-long Ruling which was delivered within half an hour of the end of the hearing. See – https://www.themontserratreporter.com/second-judge-off-the-brandt-trial/

Judge Gareth Evans, QC

Brandt’s Attorney had applied to the Court, after Judge Morley had been recused from the case, for Judge Gareth himself to be recused as well.

Meanwhile, over the years, Morley has by virtue of being the judge assigned to Montserrat in most high court matters civil and criminal has seen several of his judgments ending before the East Caribbean Court of Appeal, much ending disfavorably to him.

Last year Keston Riley had several outings before Justice Morley and in matters evolving therefrom.

As the appellant, Keston Riley, was charged with and pled guilty to fraudulent evasion of duty, following which he was sentenced by the learned judge Morley to a term of imprisonment. Riley successfully appealed his conviction to the Court of Appeal, following which the Public Prosecutions sought to appeal to the Privy Council.

Upon his release from prison, Riley had filed a fixed date claim seeking damages and declaratory relief from the State, flowing from the circumstances surrounding his successful appeal against conviction. The damages claim was set down for hearing before the same judge who presided over Riley’s criminal matter.

In light comments by the judge Morley and prior involvement in the criminal matter, Riley’s Attorney Warren Cassell applied to the learned judge to recuse himself from hearing the damages claim on the basis that he would not bring an impartial mind to bear on the matter. He refused to recuse himself from hearing the matter, at which point Riley appealed, alleging, in the main, that the learned judge erred in law by refusing to recuse himself.

The respondents being the Attorney General and the Director of Public Prosecutions applied to strike out the notice of appeal arguing that the grounds of appeal among other things that the grounds that the judge’s prior involvement in the matter and his remarks made in open court would not cause the fair-minded and informed observer to conclude that there was a real danger that the judge was biased.

The matter turned out an interesting judgment by the Court of Appeal which ordered Morley be recused, dismissed the application to strike out the appeal; allowing the appeal; setting aside the decision of the judge not to recuse himself; ordering that a different judge is to be assigned to conduct the hearing of the matter; awarding costs to the appellant to be assessed by a master if not agreed within 21 days.

Judge Morley would only this week accede to a request, challenging him to recuse himself in a matter, where Dunstan Lindsey of Baker Hill is involved before the court for a criminal matter stemming from words allegedly published of Henry Gordon and Ryan Kohli. The learned Justice Ian Morley was currently the adjudicating judge in this matter.

Following in or about the month of June 2020 Lindsey says he was charged with two offences of Criminal Libel alleging that “I committed libel against Henry Gordon the Prosecutor within the office of the DPP. The matter was eventually committed to High Court for trial and I appeared before Justice Iain Morley on at least three occasions for the management of the case.”

Attorney Jean Kelsick

On July 21 this year in support of an application for Justice Morley to recuse himself, Lindsey deposes in an Affidavit that the learned Justice Morley is a buddy of Crown Prosecutor Henry Gordon who is the virtual complainant in the criminal matter and one of the Claimant in the civil suit brought against the Applicant in the High Court.

He also deposed in paragraph 10 of his Affidavit that the learned Judge and Henry Gordon along with the Attorney for Henry Gordon were having dinner at a local restaurant. Moreover, Henry Gordon comes as a Prosecutor before Justice Morley on a regular basis.

According to the Affidavit by Lindsey in support of his application, the virtual complainant (VC) appears before the said Judge on a regular basis. Attorney Jean Kelsick (who also often appears before the Judge) is the Attorney-at-law for the said VC. A photograph with all three parties having dinner at a local restaurant was brought to the attention of the Applicant who is alleging apparent bias.

Judge Morley complied with the request in the face of a 44-clause response submitted by DPP Sullivan opposing Lindsey’s application. In his final clauses at clause 42 he said: “…It should be clear to this honorable court that [what] is being pursued by the applicant, in this case, is what can be considered as judge shopping… we invite this honorable court to dismiss the application with cost.”

In the next clause, he submits: “Prior involvement and knowledge does not disqualify a judge from hearing a matter. Critically, however, a judge must not predetermine or prejudge the matter or for or give the impression that he or she has formed a firm view adverse to the credibility of a party hearing the evidence.
“Finally,” the DPP said, “I remind this honorable court that by itself there is nothing wrong with the bench having dinner with the bar ad vice versa…”

Experienced lawyer Dr. David Dorsett, led on Constitution matters in David Brandt’s case

Then comes a successful application by David Dorsett on September 7, 2020, for Attorney Warren Cassell where Justice Morley has recused himself from the case of The Queen vs. Warren Cassell after hearing arguments from both the Attorneys-at-law representing the Crown and Dr. David Dorsett, Attorney-at-law.

Mr. Cassell is before the court after the same charge of Money laundering that was laid in 2007 was brought again 12 years later in May 2019.

Cassell was convicted in 2012 of the offence of Money Laundering under the 2010 Proceeds of Crime Act. 15 other convictions were quashed by the Privy Council in 2015 and the court of Appeal refusing to order a retrial stating that it was not in the interest of justice to retry Cassell. The money laundering conviction was quashed by the court of appeal after lawyers for Cassell argued that he could not be convicted under a 2010 law when the offence allegedly took place in 2007. This is because the constitution says that no person could be convicted under a law that was not in force when alleged offending act took place. The court of appeal ordered a re-trial and the privy council set aside the order for re-trial.

In an Affidavit in support of the Application for Morley’s recusal, Cassell cited some 14 grounds; Justice Iain Morley is the presiding judge on Montserrat and presides over all criminal and civil matters in Montserrat’s High Court; citing also the same grounds on which he recused himself in the David Brandt matter currently before the Court. Mr. Gordon also is a litigant in a civil matter in which I am the counsel; and associates and appears before him in numerous matters; Henry Gordon is a practising Attorney-at-law who regularly comes before the High Court Criminal division in his capacity as Senior Crown Counsel with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) being his immediate Supervisor.

He is also the Attorney-at-law who has appeared as Crown Counsel in this matter. Justice Morley has made unflattering remarks in relation to me in judgements. For example he described me as “a lawyer of moderate ability ” in a preliminary ruling in this matter dated on or about the 25th of October 2019.

[11] Nonetheless, the said Justice Morley indicated that he would be minded to recuse himself but was never requested to do so.

In announcing this latest recusal in Court Order dated 13th November, 2020 Dr. Dorsett informs that the Director of Public Prosecutions has now brought the single charge of Money laundering 12 years later (different from the single charge of Concealing the proceeds of criminal conduct contrary to section 33(1)(a) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 1999, CAP 4.04, by virtue of an indictment filed on or about 19th of May 2020.

Dr. Dorsett says, “Given the recusal of Justice Morley, a new judge will have to be appointed as the trial judge in the matter.”

The Order also stated that a “tentative trial date is set to commence on 19th April, 2021, during a four-week trial window.”

It is already being speculated that from other statements in the Order that because of the British interest in these trials (to include Brandt’s) another British Judge will be foisted in for the trials.

In an interesting note regarding our ‘recusal’ observations, DPP Sullivan notes, contrary to our thought that recusals have been rare, he submits: “It is my experience that full recusal applications are routinely made to trial judges both in criminal and civil matters.

DPP Oris Sullivan

Obviously there may be cases where out of common courtesy such as when material that may be potentially scandalous or highly embarrassing to the judge or where really serious allegations are made against a trial judge that the “letter “route raising the matter, would be kinder and preferable and allow a judge to recuse himself without litigation or disclosure of his wrongdoing. Otherwise, such applications, particularly in criminal matters where a trial date is imminent are invariably dealt with as expeditiously as the circumstances allow in respect of his case.

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Trump Doesn’t Have a “Right” to Keep Filing Frivolous Lawsuits

Jurisprudence

Reprint

By Jim Wagstaffe Nov 13, 20204:36 PM

People on the steps of the Capitol take selfies and hold up signs that say "Biden Harris" and "Trump You're Fired"
Hundreds gathered at the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg on Saturday to show their support for Joe Biden. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

This piece was originally published on Just Security, an online forum for analysis of U.S. national security law and policy.

The unofficial “show me” Missouri state slogan is not just an appropriate moniker for election legal challenges. It is a well-settled ethical requirement imposed by legislatures and courts for the filing of any litigation in this country.

We have all seen in these immediate post-election days not just the filing of a cornucopia of lawsuits attacking the process and results, but also a President Donald Trump-inspired trope that the Republicans, like all citizens, have a “right” to file lawsuits to test the bona fides of election results across the country. No, they don’t.

The uniform and governing rule in federal and state courts across the country is that before lawyers and litigants can pursue a case, they are under an affirmative duty to certify that the lawsuit is factually and legally meritorious. Wishful thinking doesn’t cut it.

I have been a litigator and civil procedure law professor for decades and am the author of a litigation practice guide for lawyers and judges. In my book, in every semester’s class, and in each case, I underscore to judges, students, and my colleagues that you cannot even file (much less pursue) litigation unless you first have sufficient factual and legal support. Model Code of Professional Conduct Rule 3.1 as well as the ethical canons in virtually all 50 states mandate that lawyers not bring a civil action “unless there is a basis in law and fact for doing so that is not frivolous.”

Since 1983, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11 has mandated that lawyers and their clients not commence a lawsuit unless based on (1) well-grounded evidentiary facts, (2) a colorable basis in law, and (3) a proper purpose. And as to the “good facts” aspect of this rule, the lawyer is under an affirmative duty to conduct a reasonable investigation and substantiate the facts before filing a lawsuit making wild allegations of misconduct.

Violating Rule 11 is at the lawyer’s and client’s own economic peril. If the court concludes that litigation was filed without a sufficient factual or legal basis, it has the power to impose financial sanctions, including the payment of the other side’s attorney’s fees. The rule evolved in response to a growing sense there had been an increase in the filing of abusive litigation.

The late, great federal Judge William Schwarzer wrote that one may not avoid the sting of sanctions by operating under the guise of “a pure heart but an empty head” when filing meritless lawsuits. Rather, one must pursue litigation with objective—not subjective—good faith based on actual evidence.

The plethora of filed and threatened lawsuits during this high-octane postelection cycle raises these concerns with special focus. Simply bellowing “stop the count” means nothing if there is no substantial evidence of legal or factual impropriety. Telling a court that vote count observers “are being excluded” doesn’t work unless it is true and material. And certainly, internet-inspired conspiracy theories have no place in a solemn court proceeding or in the public discourse.

Bluntly put, the ethical requirements mean that you cannot file and vaguely hope to find evidence to support your case. You must have those facts (not just suspicions) in hand or, at a minimum, specifically identify what fact will have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation. Zealous advocacy, yes. Filing “pie in the sky” litigation, absolutely not.

All this means that the required evidentiary support is judged by what you know at the time of filing—not with the benefit of skewed hindsight. You must review the available documentary evidence and interview relevant witnesses before pursuing strategic, uncorroborated litigation. Implausibility, hearsay, and hopeful ideology don’t fly.

Thus, it is not enough to say in lawsuits the election was “riddled with fraud,” “stolen from the American people,” or “deeply rigged.” To the contrary and in case after case, judges (no matter who appointed them) have insisted on facts. For instance:

• In Michigan, Judge Timothy Kenny denied a preliminary injunction filed in Detroit to halt certification of the election because the assertion of “failed oversight” by election inspectors was speculative and unsupported, stating the “Plaintiffs’ allegation is mere speculation,” that they have “offered no evidence to support their assertions,” and they “are unable to meet their burden for the relief sought.”

• Also in Michigan, Judge Cynthia Diane Stephens dismissed a claim brought by an election observer claiming that poll observers were excluded, explaining “the complaint does not specify when, where, or by whom plaintiff was excluded. Nor does the complaint provide any details about why the alleged exclusion occurred.” Stephens otherwise dismissed the evidence as inadmissible hearsay without an exception.

• In Georgia, Judge James F. Bass dismissed a suit alleging that ballots received too late were invalidly counted, stating that there was “no evidence” that the ballots were invalid.

• In Pennsylvania, Judge Paul Diamond denied the Trump campaign’s motion for an injunction concerning greater access for poll watchers after the plaintiffs’ lawyers admitted that its poll observers were allowed in to observe. The judge questioned the lawyers, “I’m sorry, then what’s your problem?”

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Indeed, it is highly ironic that many of the politicians championing these election litigation strategies are the very ones in many other contexts who’ve complained of “the explosion” of frivolous litigation filed by “evil and greedy” plaintiffs’ lawyers. The “litigiousness” shoe now seems to be on the other foot.

Bottom line: You must have specific and credible evidence before you can file a lawsuit. And no surprise that the judges hearing these cases almost uniformly have and will continue to say “show me” or you’re out of here.

You may then read: https://www.justsecurity.org/73367/trump-has-a-right-to-pursue-legal-challenges-to-election-but-not-without-the-facts/

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Breaking-news-Brandt

Brandt released from remand and back on bail

by Bennette Roach, London.

Bail Revoked, Brandt on remand, jailed, until? Was the headline in the TMR’s publication of July 5, 2019,  which began, “This lingering high court criminal matter has been described on Tuesday in one report as follows: “The High Court of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court has ordered another ‘interesting twist’ in the case the Queen vs David S. Brandt.”

David S. Brandt

– a trial is set to begin on November 18, 2019, but meantime the judge issues ‘directive’ to stop comments on the case.

Now, yesterday originating in Antigua:

The link from July 2019 at the beginning of this story gives an extensive and somewhat detailed as to Brandt was put on remand where he has been until the breaking news. The case has been somewhat a saga with several attempts including appeals to undo the remand order and which included a new judge eventually forced to recuse from the trial.

See here: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/brandts-trial-to-begin-february-28/ another rundown as to how the matter went before we would say, COVID-19 intervened and the opportunity to end the remand and save GoM some expense from the Lockdown that ensued. That supposedly ended altogether yesterday, ‘maybe’, while it was eased earlier, there continued a curfew just ended.

The conditions of this ‘new’ bail include, among others; Mr. Brandt is to restrict his residence to his home in Olveston; he must have no contact any female under the age of 18; He must not entertain or have any interviews on the case/matter; he must have no direct or indirect contact with any jurors once the juror list is published (and he is in possession).  

The trial is now scheduled to commence on September 28.

Listen below to ZJB – Radio Montserrat’s full report:

Dr. David Dorsett, Brandt’s attorney primarily in Constitutional matters

Attorney-at-law Warren Cassell who initially provided the breaking news information, informed, “Dr. Dorsett did an excellent job in representing him from Antigua at bail hearing which was via Zoom.”

In a comment, Cassell ‘imagined how upset the DPP will be when he hears the news…..” It was probably that which drew some comments, like “For all those who talking negatively about Mr. Brandt, call on God and ask Him to deal with us the way we deserve then sit back and look. NONE will be spared……remember that.” “…everyone needs to be treated fairly; ” ”a he axx that. Everyone needs to be treated fairly.”

“The vipers them already stirring up. Everyone deserves a Fair trial. When u guys coming for people come good. Have you facts and all your Ts cross. When you assuming no carry it a court. I wonder how the High Court that doesn’t have anything to do with Montserrat favoritism is doing anything hypocritical.”

Posted in Court, COVID-19, Crime, Featured, International, Legal, Local, News, OECS, Regional0 Comments

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