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CCJ rules St Lucian academic should be registered to vote in B’dos elections

CCJ rules St Lucian academic should be registered to vote in B’dos elections



Eddy Ventose

(CMC) — The Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Sunday ruled that a St Lucian-born academic should be registered as an elector to cast a ballot in the May 24 general elections in Barbados and warned the Chief Elections Officer that failure to carry out the order by midday tomorrow could land her in jail for contempt of court or be fined.

In an unprecedented hearing, the CCJ, which is the Barbados final court, said that Eddy Ventose, a professor of law at the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), had satisfied “the necessary legal and regulatory conditions for registration as an elector”.

In the ruling of the five-member panel of judges, read out by the CCJ President Sir Dennis Byron, the court told Angela Taylor, the Chief Electoral Officer “shall register or cause the applicant to be registered as an elector before 12 noon on Monday, the 14th day of May, 2018”.

Dennis said that if Taylor ‘does not comply with the order, you may be held to be in contempt of court and you may be imprisoned and or fined”.

Barbadians go to the polls on May 24 to elect a new government with the contest expected to be between the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) headed by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and the main opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) headed by Mia Mottley, who is seeking to become the first woman head of government in this Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.

Election day workers, including police, will cast their ballots on May 17.

Political observers had said that the matter before the CCJ, which is Barbados’ highest court, has implications not only for the appellant but also for Commonwealth citizens, living in Barbados, who want to be registered to vote in the general elections.

Ventose, who has lived in Barbados for several years, sought to be included on the Barbados electoral register. He had alleged that under the prevailing laws he is qualified and entitled to be registered.

The Court of Appeal last week ruled that Ventose was entitled to be registered to vote but stopped short of compelling the chief electoral officer to do so, instead, ordering the chief electoral officer to determine Professor Ventose’s claim within 24 hours.

Ventose had asked the CCJ to declare that his name should be on the final voters’ list ahead of its publication this week.

The CCJ said that the request for appeal came late Friday and it responded by scheduling the hearing for Sunday.

Dennis said the application for special leave to appeal filed on Friday had been granted as well as the application “to treat this hearing as an urgent matter.

“The application for special leave to appeal is being treated as the substantive hearing of the appeal,” he said, adding “the appeal is allowed and the orders of the Court of Appeal are set aside”.

Dennis said that the CCJ is satisfied that the applicant has locus standi…under the Administrative Justice Act …to bring judicial review application under Section three of the act. “The long standing policy of the Electoral and Boundaries Commission in relation to Commonwealth citizens to register as electors… is unlawful and ultra vires.

“The court is satisfied that on the basis of judicial finding pronounced in this matter, which has not been appealed, the applicant has satisfied the necessary legal and regulatory conditions for registration as an elector,” Dennis said.

The costs for this court and the court below were awarded to the appellant.


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Wendell Robinson

Police Commission given green light to challenge suspension

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, May 12, CMC – Police Commissioner, Wendel Robinson, who in April had been suspended with immediate effect amid allegations that he made sexual advances towards three junior policemen, has been granted leave to challenging the actions of the Police Service Commission (PSC).

Wendell Robinson
Wendel Robinson (File Photo)

High Court judge Rosalyn Wilkinson earlier this week granted Robinson leave to file for judicial review.

The matter is scheduled to be heard on June 6 and Robinson has been given until May 18 to formally file the application for judicial review.

The High Court has also granted him his request for the matter to be treated as urgent and has already named the Police Service Commission as the first respondent and the Attorney General as the second.

Robinson’s suspension came five days after Attorney General Steadroy Benjamin wrote to him, requesting that he respond to the allegations made by the officers that he asked at least one of them for sex and offered to pay.

Robinson, who has been in the post since 2015, was suspended on April 5.

In its letter informing him of the suspension, the PSC also indicated that he would receive 50 per cent of his salary until the outcome of a probe.

Robinson has argued that the actions of the PSC were unlawful and on April 13, and had written to the Commission threatening legal action if the suspension was not lifted on or before April 20.

But the PSC rejected the ultimatum.

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CCJ restores not guilty verdict in “Lusignan massacre” in Guyana

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, May 11, CMC – The Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice Friday restored the 2013 acquittals of  James Hyles and  Mark Williams over their alleged involvement in what has been dubbed the ‘Lusignan Massacre’, in Guyana despite substantial procedural errors at trial.

Gunmen on January 6, 2008, went from house to house on the East Coast Demerara village of Lusignan armed with high powered rifles and killed 11 people including five children, as they slept in their homes.  Hyles and Williams were indicted on 11counts of murder and during their trial the presiding judge allowed a request by Hyles’s attorney to question jurors, before they were sworn in, due to the widespread pre-trial publicity of the case.

CCCJThe trial judge as well as state and defence counsel actively participated in this exercise.

The main prosecution witnesses were two members of the gang allegedly responsible for the massacre, one of whom was charged in connection with the massacre. However, the charges against him were withdrawn a mere two weeks before the trial began.

Hyles and William both denied involvement in the killings, but the jury on found both men not guilty on August 2, 2013 on all counts.

The Director of Public Prosecutions appealed the acquittals, under the newly amended Court of Appeal Act, on the basis that there were material irregularities in the trial.

The Court of Appeal agreed, allowed the appeal, overturned the verdicts of not guilty and sent the matter back to the High Court for a retrial.

But in their appeal to the CCJ, Guyana’s highest court, the appellants urged the Court to allow the appeal on the basis that the DPP’s new power to appeal an acquittal breached their constitutional right to the protection of law. I

They argued that the new law offended the principle against double jeopardy, which prevents an accused person from being tried again on the same, or similar, charges and on the same facts.

However, the Court rejected this argument and reminded the appellants that the wording of the Constitution contemplated the possibility of such an appeal and that in principle, the rule against double jeopardy only protected acquittals which were affirmed by the appellate courts.

The Court held that the appellants’ acquittals did not fall into that category.

Before considering the specific procedural issues, the CCJ acknowledged that the requirement, that the acquittal had to be the result of a procedural error(s) or flaw(s) of the trial judge, was a steep hill for an appellate court to climb.

As such, the Court constructed a test specifically for application in prosecution appeals against acquittals. It held that that the prosecution must satisfy the Court that “given, on the one hand, the nature and weight on the evidence and, on the other hand, the seriousness of the judicial error(s) or procedural flaw(s) it can with a substantial degree of certainty be inferred that had the error(s) or flaw(s) not occurred, the trial would not have resulted in the acquittal of the accused”.

While the CCJ did not agree fully with the findings of the lower court, it found that there were some material irregularities, including the way in which the questioning of the jurors was conducted and the failure of the trial judge to investigate an allegation of improper communication between a juror and man alleged to be Hyles’ father.

However, on application of the test, the CCJ held that it could not with the required degree of certainty infer that the acquittals were the result of the errors and that it was possible that the jury simply did not believe, beyond reasonable doubt, the evidence presented by the state.

The CCJ allowed the appeal, set aside the decision of the Court of Appeal of Guyana and restored the jury’s verdict of acquittal of the appellants.

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court rul

Man denied bail on charges of sexually assaulting a minor

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Apr 18, CMC – A 53-year-old man has been denied bail after he appeared before a city magistrate on charges of sexual penetration and sexual touching of a seven-year-old girl.

Ted Dookie, 53, appeared before Magistrate Adia Mohammed charged with one count of sexual penetration and two counts of sexual touching against a minor. He will return to court on May 1.

court rulThe court heard that the incidents are alleged to have occurred between December 17, 2017 and Thursday February 1, this year.

Meanwhile, a 56-year-old man charged with raping a 12-year-old girl and molesting her 13-year-old sister, has been committed to stand trial in the High Court.

Hubert Mannette was granted TT$200,000 (One TT dollar=US$0.17 cents) bail after he was charged with charged with two counts of sexual touching of a 13-year-old girl and one count of sexual penetration of a 12-year-old girl.

Police said they have also charged a 26-year-old man with two counts of having sexual intercourse with a female under the age of 14-years-old and one count of sexual penetration of a female child on March 26 this year.

Anthony Michael Mitchell, who was granted TT$100,000, has since been committed to stand trial in the High Court. He has been ordered not to come within 500 feet of the alleged victim or have any form of communication with her.

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Businessman sentenced to life for murdering family of six

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Apr. 12, CMC –  A 50 year old businessman was sentenced to 120 years behind bars for the murder of a family of six in the eastern parish of St. Thomas, 12 years ago.

prisonsIn handing down the sentence on Thursday, Justice Bertram  Morrison said  McLean must serve 48 years before being eligible for parole.

McLean, a chef, was convicted  of murder on all six counts after a seven member jury handed down a unanimous verdict, on March 6.

He was convicted of killing his former girlfriend Terry-Ann Mohammed, her son, Jessie O’Gilvie, 9, her niece –  Patrice Martin-McCool and her children, Lloyd McCool, 3, Jihad McCool, 6, and Sean Chin, 9, in the eastern parish on February 25, 2006.

However, McLean has  denied any involvement in the killings.

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CCJ rules in favour of Barbadian company

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Mar 26, CMC – The Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Monday said it had no jurisdiction to hear a case in which three employees of a hotel in Barbados had been dismissed and ordered that the matter be heard by the Court of Appeal there expeditiously.

In its ruling the CCJ, the Barbados final court, heard that the workers had first challenged their dismissal in the Magistrate’s Court on the basis that they were sent home without cause in breach of the procedures outlined in their contracts.

The Magistrate Court determined on September 24, 2014, that the way the employees were terminated did violate the terms of their contract.

On the same day, the company, Sandy lane Company Limited, through its attorney, verbally informed the magistrate of its intention to appeal the decision.

The attorney then followed this with a letter to the Magistrate on October I, 2014, informing the  magistrate that he was appealing and requesting the court’s reasons for its decision.

When the matter came on for hearing before the Court of Appeal, it considered whether it could hear the matters since the appeals were not filed within seven days from the date of the magistrate’s judgment as is required by the Magistrate’s Court Act.

But Sandy Lane argued that the appeal was filed in time since the applicable rules governing appeals to the Court of Appeal are found in the Civil Procedure Rules which provide for a time limit of 28 days to appeal. It was also argued that it had given verbal, and written notices, within the seven-day period which would have satisfied the time limit under the Magistrate’s Court Act.

The Court of Appeal, referring to an earlier judgment of the CCJ, determined that its jurisdiction to hear appeals from the Magistrate’s court is governed by the Magistrate’s Court Act and not the Civil Procedure Rules.

As such, the time for filing the notice of appeal was seven days. Further, it held, the Magistrate’s Court Act requires notice to be given to the clerk, not the Magistrate, and this was not done.

The court rejected the letter of 1st October 2014 by the attorney since it was addressed to the Magistrate and not the clerk. The appeal was dismissed.

In its judgment, the CCJ made reference to its ruling in the Deane v Allamby  pointing out that in that case it did not even consider whether the Civil Procedure Rules had any relevance to appeals from a Magistrate’s court since the appellant in that case had not filed a notice of appeal under the Rules.

In this case, the CCJ determined that the appellant had in fact given “immediate, public notice of its intention to appeal” which was subsequently followed by a notice in writing, and both were within the time period prescribed by the Magistrate’s Court Act.

The CCJ ruled that in all the circumstances, notice was given as a matter of substance and it should not matter that neither counsel nor the clerk regarded those notices as compliant with the requirements of the Magistrate’s Court Act.

Therefore, the CCJ concluded, the appellant had complied with the notice requirements under the Magistrate’s Court Act.

The Court opined that the regime for appealing under the Magistrate’s Court Act requires legislative intervention to harmonize it with the procedure under the Civil Procedure Rules, the latter being acknowledged as more convenient for appellants.

The CCJ allowed the appeal and ordered that the appeal to the Court of Appeal be restored and heard on an expedited basis.

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Dr. Perkins gets suspended prison sentence and victim compensation fine

Dr. Perkins gets suspended prison sentence and victim compensation fine


Dr Franklin Perkins

Dr. Franklin Perkins who was on February 23rd last year, arrested and charged, was found guilty on March 1, 2017, by nine-member panel jury. He was charged for indecently assaulting a nineteen-year-old female in his private surgery at Cudjoe Head, has been granted bail pending sentencing in March next year. Sentencing was carded for March this year.


Justice Ian Morley in the high court on Monday morning handed down the sentence by which the 67-year-old medical doctor was ordered to pay the victim $10,000 within three months in default of which he would serve a period of sixmonths in jail. In addition, he has been given an 18-month suspended prison sentence.


Judge Ian Morley

The medical doctor has to date denied that he committed the act insisting that it simply was a routine medical examination. Justice Morley said he considered the statements given by persons who spoke in support of Dr. Perkins during his sentencing, adding that he also received a letter from some members of the medical fraternity on Montserrat who expressed surprise and disappointment at the guilty verdict.


The judge gave an extended account of the case and according to him, this assault on the victim’s reputation and that of her family indicates an undercurrent of racism, sexism and snobbery in the Montserrat society.

More details will be published in a later issue of TMR when some matters will be highlighted in light of the judge’s ‘findings’ and adjudication.

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Justice Frank Seepersad

Defaming in Social Media is popular these days – Consequences come in varying forms

Justice Frank Seepersad

The article published last week, “High Court judge rules on Facebook posting” which showed one Facebook poster, ordered to pay to her victims, damages and costs, we had prefaced it by saying, “There are many fronts of interest for very diverse sections of our community, that this article should receive special attention.”

There has been some ‘feedback’ where some concerned persons expressed support for the view that many here in Montserrat and elsewhere have been getting away with similar acts. They wanted to know more about the matter.

Nearly all the mediums, print and online, carried the story. In another article, the judge was quoted saying: “There is nothing wrong with expressing your views, by all means, go ahead [but] do not defame the reputation of someone else. Do not drag their name through the mud. Be careful what you post, they have consequences.”

Following Justice Frank Seepersad conviction, saying, Your social media posts can have consequences in court, in a programe called, The Morning Brew today, the suing couple’s attorney issued a caution to others using the kind word, ‘share’ in Facebook. “A word of caution is also extended to those who knowingly republish or “share” posts containing defamatory content. There must be some measure of restraint, if only to reconsider the accuracy or plausibility of truth in a post before its dissemination which is especially true of sensational and outrageous posts which can possibly cause irreparable harm,” they said.

This should be given very serious thought. You see, you can’t change the printed word. You may get away with the attempt of trying to change the spoken word.

In that article it offered a brief on “What is defamation?” 

The Libel and Defamation Act was first established in January 1846.

There are two parts of defamation namely libel (things in a permanent form that are written e.g newspapers, books, paintings, drawings) or slander (things that are said).

Defamation is usually an allegation or accusation that harms the reputation or honour of the subject of the communication, generally by identifying a character trait or course of action that exposes the subject to hatred, contempt or ridicule.

A Magistrate or High Court Judge can therefore award damages if the defendant is found guilty of defamation of character.

It is on Facebook and probably through other social media that Montserrat suffered and is suffering from certain ‘potentially’ defamatory publishing which undoubtedly among more serious problems, caused the presence of a new governor in Montserrat. As a result there may be all types of litigation that might take place, however long that will be.

Legislation regarding defamation (the Libel and Defamation Act) was established long before the era of the internet. As such, this ruling will now govern the use of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and other communication applications including WhatsApp and Viber.

Some folks may feel secure and private, but note, as the judge indicated: “…while a person’s social media account is private, the posts occupy a public space and the content will be subject to public opinion and scrutiny.

Another writer Derek Achong noted the advice to exercise extreme caution when making posts, as citizens who fall victim to reckless and malicious statements now have an avenue of recourse.

The observations noted that social media users would be held to the same standards as traditional media practitioners. Just as the judge put it: “Social media ought not to be viewed as an unregulated media forum and anyone who elects to express views or opinions on such a forum stands in the shoes of a journalist and must be subjected to the standards of responsible journalism which govern traditional media,” he said.

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Sheree Rodney

Brandt questions the appointment of new Attorney General

Veteran Attorney at Law David S. Brandt continues to argue for a position he promoted back in 2000 while he was Chief Minister of Montserrat.

The last time we recall he successfully argued for that to be exercised was at the retirement of Police Commissioner John Douglas. His position was that top positions in particular should be offered first to a Montserratian, then someone from the region before going elsewhere.

The policy was very much endorsed in 2012 when several positions became available when it was said that all jobs should be advertised with Montserratians having first option.  That became ‘law’ when persons were being hired to work at the Montserrat Development Corporation (MDC)

This week Mr. Brandt is calling on the powers that be to come out and announce the name of the new Attorney General for Montserrat. This so even after he said a non-national has been confirmed in the post.

It would be of interest to him as he is a lawyer still practising in Montserrat, he says it is for far too long the naming of the new Attorney General has been shrouded in secrecy. 

He spoke to ZJB News that it has been brought to his attention that despite the fact that Mrs. Sheree Jemmotte-Rodney has been acting in that position for over a years. That as a matter of fact should have been for several years.

 Mr. Brandt says that for a whole year Mrs. Jemmotte-Rodney has been advising the Government on civil matters and that it would be unfair to give the position to someone else.

“I would like to say it is not this government’s fault, because two of the three persons who sat on the interview board were foreigners, one from DFID and a foreigner working with the government,” he said. “Mrs. Jemmotte-Rodney was here during the volcanic crisis. She suffered from ash. She had to deal with her young children, sometimes had to move. And here the opportunity comes to be confirmed as Attorney General.”

He points that there’s a rule in the civil service that you must not act for more than three months. “So if you act for more than three months you have the legitimate expectation that you would be appointed,” as he then notes, “when we confirm a foreigner whatever he or she learns she goes with it. Every Attorney General that has acted here in recent times have become judges of the High Court, if we do not promote our people then those who are in certain positions would have to wonder would I reach the top.”

It can be observed that the last Montserratian only a few years ago who was Attorney General in Montserrat on more than one occasion, Miss Esco Henry is now a judge in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

TMR learnt that one of the criteria that was set for the post, seen as a definite point to keep her out, was that the candidate must have worked outside of Montserrat. This is seen as very ridiculous and invoked comments that there is something terribly wrong with the recruitment process in Montserrat. The argument being that the person who we understand (unofficially) is from Trinidad who has never worked in Montserrat (or could it be one of the persons brought in by FCO to work on some matters out of the AG’s office). In addition to the complexity of the matter, we learnt also that on more than one occasion as in this instance at least one of the applicants is working outside of Montserrat in an Overseas Territory, and that person was also overlooked.  Where is the sense the fairness?

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US court asked to subpoena British Overseas Territories security advisor

US court asked to subpoena British Overseas Territories security advisor

Most or all of the stories and articles featured in this newspaper from time to time are for reason that there are matters of important relevance and benefit to Montserrat. The following Caribbean News article bears much relevance and similarities to matters that go on with regards to Montserrat and some circumstances that have thwarted our progress on an individual level and a government level.

If persons and government were to have the guts and the people of Montserrat at heart we would in the not too distant future see situations develop as has been the case in TCI and now Cayman Islands, and elsewhere.

Covington visits Montserrat regularly in his capacity as described in the article and Tony Bates heads the Governor’s office here in Montserrat.

Pic – (L-R) British Overseas Territories security adviser Larry Covington with Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) Commissioner David Baines and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) official Tony Bates in May 2012

By Caribbean News Now contributor

MIAMI, USA — Attorneys acting for former Cayman Islands premier, McKeeva Bush, have filed an application in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida seeking an order granting Bush leave to issue and serve a subpoena on Lawrence ‘Larry’ Covington, Britain’s overseas territories security adviser, who was and is a resident of Miami-Dade County, Florida.

The application has been made pursuant to 28 USC § 1782 for judicial assistance in obtaining evidence located in the state of Florida for use in a foreign and international proceeding, namely, a currently pending case before the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands filed by Bush against Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) Commissioner David Baines, former Cayman Islands governor, Duncan Taylor, and the attorney general of the Cayman Islands, Sam Bulgin, for conspiracy and malicious prosecution.

According to the US court filing, the gist of the Cayman action is that Baines, Taylor and Bulgin conspired for Bush to be arrested in the Cayman Islands and charged with the “crime” of using his government issued credit card for personal expenditures. Bush asserts that his prosecution was malicious and/or brought for an improper purpose, which was to remove him from his office as premier of the Cayman Islands in 2012 and render him unable to retain his office in the 2013 elections.

Evidence submitted to courts in the Cayman Islands and the United States for the purpose of obtaining search orders and evidence under mutual legal assistance provisions falsely stated that Bush had breached Cayman Islands government policy by using his credit card for personal reasons. Bush was ultimately exonerated by a jury following a full trial on all of the charges and filed suit to recover damages from the alleged conspirators.

Evidence introduced in the Cayman action is said to demonstrate that Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) was involved in bringing the false criminal charges against Bush.

Specifically, an email dated February 5, 2012, from then governor Taylor to Tony Bates, who was the head of the Caribbean and Bermuda Section in the Overseas Territories Directorate at the FCO in London, stated that “the Commissioner and his team are doing everything they can to expedite matters and are well aware of the potential difficulties if we are unable to get to the point of charging McKeeva ahead of the elections.”

Another email from Taylor to Bates at the FCO reported that Taylor had “tipped off a [media source]” as to where Bush’s charge sheet could be found and inspected so that the media source could “write a piece” about Bush’s arrest.

In yet another email from Taylor to Bates, Taylor suggested that he will be opening a bottle of champagne in celebration after Bush’s arrest, as he remarks in his email, “Not opening any quiet bubbly until after it [charges against Bush] has been confirmed!”

Bush claims that these emails demonstrate that the FCO was heavily involved in the manufactured charges against him.

Covington was the law enforcement adviser for Britain’s Caribbean Overseas
Territories and his role was to provide guidance and advice to the governor and commissioner of police.

The nature of Covington’s role in law enforcement in the UK overseas territories is said to be illustrated by a judgment issued by the Cayman Islands Grand Court, which records the then-governor of the Cayman Islands accepting a recommendation from Covington, described as the law enforcement adviser in the FCO, to investigate allegedly criminal conduct in the Cayman Islands under the code name “Operation Tempura”.

Operation Tempura was an investigation conducted by senior Scotland Yard detectives into alleged corruption and other criminal conduct in the Cayman Islands in 2008, and itself turned into an unmitigated disaster, resulting in a series allegations, counter allegations and recriminations.

The lead investigator in the Operation Tempura probe, Martin Bridger, has steadfastly maintained that the initial investigation by the local police, which involved an illegal entry into the offices of a local newspaper, was discussed with and approved by former governor Stuart Jack, Covington and Bulgin, all of whom issued unconvincing denials.

According to Bush’s attorneys, given this background and the high profile and controversial nature of the investigation and failed prosecution of Bush, there can be no doubt that Covington personally played a central role. There can also be no doubt that he would have created and would have received documentary material in relation to both the investigation and the failed prosecution of Bush.

Specifically, given Covington’s title and role played in the investigation and prosecution of Bush, it is simply not possible that no documents have been sent to, or generated by, Covington during the entire process.

“Although one would have hoped Mr Covington might volunteer his records to assist the defendants to comply with their discovery obligations in the Cayman Islands, Mr Covington has not done so and the other defendants in the Cayman action assert that these documents are not within their possession,” Bush’s attorneys state.

Thus, they assert that Covington is a key person in these proceedings and Bush has therefore applied to the US court to obtain information relevant to the Cayman action, including:

  1. copies of all emails sent or received by Covington (including for the avoidance of doubt archived or deleted emails or other electronic documents) between January
    1, 2009, and December 31, 2014, relating to the intended and actual investigation and subsequent prosecution and trial of Bush, and;
  2. any and all notes, reports, memoranda or other documents of any kind and in any format created between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2014, that relate to the intended and actual investigation and subsequent prosecution and trial of Bush, his removal from office as premier of the Cayman Islands and/or the 2013 elections.

Bush also seeks that Covington attend a deposition to answer questions as to the role he played in the prosecution of Bush and to explain the documents that are produced.

The relevant court filings are publicly accessible at the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida under case number 1:18-mc-20228-JEM In Re: Application of William McKeeva Bush OBE.


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