Archive | Court

CCJ President - Justice Saunders

CCJ President perplexed at Caribbean people’s non acceptance of regional court

Staff writer

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Oct 20, CMC – President of the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of

CCJ President – Justice Saunders

Justice (CCJ), Justice Adrian Saunders, says after 50 years of political independence,  he remains perplexed that Caribbean people are still finding “excuses” in support of the London-based Privy Council as the region’s final court.

Justice Saunders, who will receive an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) later on Saturday, said that he remains confident that like other regional institutions, the CCJ will be embraced by all the people of the Caribbean.

“I remain confident that, as is the case with, for example, The Caribbean Development Bank, the Caribbean Examinations Council, and of course The University of the West Indies, to name just a few, the time will come when the CCJ also will be recognised as another of those Caribbean institutions whose vital contribution to the region can almost be taken for granted,” he told a dinner here on  Friday night on behalf of his fellow graduand Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana and Professor of Entomology at the Department of Animal Biology and Conservation Science.

The CCJ was established in 2001 to replace the Privy Council as the region’s final court. But while all the Caribbean countries have signed on to the Court’s Original Jurisdiction, only Barbados, Belize, Dominica and Guyana are signatories to the Appellate Jurisdiction of the Court that also serves as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the 15-member regional integration movement, CARICOM.

Antigua and Barbuda and Grenada will hold national referendums on November 6 on whether or not to replace the Privy Council with the CCJ.

Justice Saunders told the ceremony that it is vital for Caribbean people with their fractured experiences over the past four centuries to have self-belief.

“A clear sense of ourselves. An understanding of our worth as human beings and of our ability to forge our own destiny…

“It is perplexing to me, for example, that so many people in the region contrive to find excuse upon excuse to justify the anomaly that, after 50 years of political independence, the laws that we proudly make should ultimately be interpreted and applied by a British institution, staffed with British judges all of whom reside in Britain.

“This, after CARICOM states, over 15 years ago, established their own Court, precisely to serve that purpose. This, after US$100 million was spent to guarantee that Court’s sustainability. This, after the Court, has successfully been operating for well over 10 years serving the needs of some States. “

He said that when he tries to explain this to his colleagues from Asia, Africa and Latin America, as he is sometimes obliged to do at judicial colloquia “this ceases to be an anomaly.

“In the face of the incredulity expressed by my colleagues, it becomes an embarrassment linked directly to our perception of ourselves and the level of confidence we have in our capacity to take full responsibility for our own governance…”

Justice Saunders, the third Caribbean national after Trinidadian Michael de La Bastide and St. Kitts-Nevis national Sir Dennis Byron to head the Trinidad-based CCJ, said “I temper my perplexity, I look to the future and I remain confident.

“I remain confident that our institutions of learning, and UWI in particular, will rise to the challenge of inspiring our students with the notion that Caribbean people are inferior to no one; that we do have the capacity to govern ourselves, to build and maintain worthy institutions;

“That we are able to and that we do produce the human resources effectively to manage such bodies; that these institutions, when locally established, work for us in ways in which no others can; and that if we observe carefully, objectively, we will see these truths demonstrated over and over again. Yes, I remain confident.”

In his address, Justice Saunders said the UWI, after 70 years in operation, has every right to be proud of its achievements.

“Its student enrolment has grown from a few dozen persons when it opened its doors in Mona in 1948 to tens of thousands at the present time. More importantly, UWI alumni now occupy leading positions in all fields of life, in all professions, in the region.

“It is fair to say that the realisation of the dreams and aspirations of the people of the Caribbean Community, in large measure, rest with those who have graduated this institution,” the CCJ President said.

The St. Vincent and the Grenadines born jurist said that while it is a huge credit to the university with main campuses in Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Jamaica, “it also generates enormous expectations, especially in the context of the times in which we live.

“This is the age where information has never before been as accessible as it is today. The ability to publish information to millions of persons has never been easier. That ability can be a powerful force for good. It makes it possible for all of humanity, instantly, to be mobilised behind the most impactful endeavours.

“But the opposite is also possible. Nameless, faceless publishers, with hidden agendas, can manipulate public opinion, sometimes with tremendous political, economic and social consequences. Innocent recipients of information have the greatest difficulty distilling truth from falsehood; sincerity from deliberate deception; democracy from populism.”

Justice Saunders said that in the face of these realities, “it behoves all of us, but especially institutions of higher learning, to prepare present and succeeding generations to rally around eternal core human values.

“Truth, Compassion, Cooperation, Caring, Courtesy, Peace, Empathy, Hard honest labour … These are values we must safeguard and promote if we are to take full advantage of the rich bounty the information revolution makes available to us,” he said, paying “tribute to the tutelage and guidance that I and so many others have received from the eminent faculty that have taught at the University”.

 

Posted in CARICOM, Court, International, Legal, News, OECS, Regional0 Comments

Justice Adrian Saunders - CCJ

CCJ President to receive UWI honorary doctorate

by staff writer

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Oct 19, CMC – The President of the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Justice Adrian Saunders, will receive an honorary doctorate from the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI).

Justice Saunders will be conferred with the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws during the UWI graduation ceremony on Saturday.

Justice Adrian Saunders – CCJ

He will also be a guest speaker at The UWI’s graduation dinner on Friday night. Justice Saunders will be speaking on behalf of his fellow graduand Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana and Professor of Entomology at the Department of Animal Biology and Conservation Science.

“I am most appreciative of this honour that The UWI will bestow upon me and I am incredibly humbled and honoured by this recognition. I will accept it gratefully on behalf of my parents and siblings, my family, my colleagues at the CCJ, and all the people I have worked with who have all contributed to my success,” said Justice Saunders, who is the third Caribbean national to head the CCJ that was established in 2001 to replace the London-based Privy Council as the region’s final court.

“I would be remiss if I did not also mention the role that the  UWI has played in my success. My years at UWI gave me a depth of knowledge and a foundation that I am indebted to the institution for. Those years also provided me with mentors, life-long friends and many fond memories,” he added.

The St. Vincent and the Grenadines-born native  holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from the UWI in 1975 and a Legal Education Certificate from the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad and Tobago in 1977.

The CCJ President said that the UWI had over the past 70 years been able to nurture generations of Caribbean leaders, as well as making an indelible mark on the development of the region.

 

Posted in Announcements/Greetings, CARICOM, Court, Education, International, Legal, Local, News, OECS, Regional0 Comments

Former magistrate charged with sexual assault

by staff writer

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, Oct 19, CMC – A former magistrate has been released on EC$10,000 (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) bail after he was charged Thursday with sexually assaulting a 24-year-old woman.

Thew attorney, who is now in private practice, will appear in court on November 27 for the start of preliminary investigations in the allegations against him.

The 68-year-old, who is accused of touching the female in different parts of her body without consent, faces the possibility of being sentenced to prison for 14 years if convicted.

According to the Criminal Code, a person commits the offence of sexual assault if he or she unlawfully penetrate the genital organs of another person with, any part of the body of another person or that person.

Sexual assault also occurs if the other person does not consent to the penetration and if he or she does not believe that the other person consents to such penetration or is reckless as to whether the other person consents or not.

Former president of the Grenada Bar Association,  Ruggles Ferguson, said that as a member of the legal profession there is no automatic disbarment if the attorney is convicted.

“Any form of discipline after a conviction has to be under in accordance with the legal profession act and it must be noted that disbarment is the ultimate form of discipline, there are other actions that can be taken like suspension,” he said.

In Montserrat a prominent lawyer has been charged with counts of sexual related charges allegedly committed against a minor since September 2015. The matter has been held up with legal battles, reaching the Courts of Appeal.

 

Posted in Court, Crime, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

CCJ dismisses Titan’s million dollar claim

CCJ dismisses Titan’s million dollar claim

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Oct 17, CMC – The Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice Wednesday dismissed a claim by the Belize-based Titan International Securities Inc (Titan) for US$4.46 million  in losses as a result of a search and seizure operation conducted at its offices in September 2014.

But the CCJ, which is the country’s highest court, ordered the Belize government to pay Titan vindicatory damages of BZ$100,000 (One Belize dollar=US$0.49 cents) for the way in which the operation was conducted.

The CCJ heard that in September 2014, an indictment was unsealed in the United States charging Titan, its president. Kelvin Leach, and 11 others with securities fraud, evasion of taxes, money laundering and conspiracy to commit those offences.

The US Department of Justice requested the assistance of the Belize government to have Titan’s offices searched as quickly as possible to prevent the destruction of evidence.

A magistrate acting under the mutual assistance law granted a warrant to local police officers as well as officers of the Financial Intelligence Unit to search for and seize documents which might be used as evidence.

The warrant was read to Leach, who was on the premises when the officers arrived, but it was not given to him. Additionally, he did not receive a list of items seized by the authorities and Titan’s attorney was not allowed to enter the offices during the search.

While the search was being conducted, Titan was informed, via email, by the International Financial Services Commission that its licence had been suspended. The licence has since expired, and it was never renewed.

In December 2014, Titan filed proceedings in the Supreme Court in which it alleged that the mutual assistance law was unconstitutional and that the search was executed in an unreasonable and oppressive manner, claiming that its constitutional rights were breached.

But Justice Abel disagreed with Titan’s contention that the law which granted the power to conduct the search and seizure exercise was unconstitutional. He found that there were limitations and safeguards within the law which sufficiently protected the public from a breach of their constitutional rights.

He did, however, find that the search was executed in an unreasonable and excessive, but not oppressive, manner. As a result, he concluded that Titan was entitled to compensation and awarded them US$4.46 million, representing 20 per cent of its original claim of US$22 million.

The Court of Appeal agreed that the search was carried out in an unreasonable and excessive manner but held that Titan failed to show a link between the loss claimed and the constitutional breach. In its view, the taking of the property was not the cause of the shutting down of Titan’s business; it was caused by the suspension and non-renewal of the licence.

The CCJ agreed with the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal that the law itself was not unconstitutional, but that Titan’s right to privacy had been violated.

The CCJ concluded that Titan failed to prove the link between the breach of its constitutional right and the closure of its business.

Like the Court of Appeal, the CCJ was of the view that Titan’s loss was caused by the suspension and non-renewal of the licence.

The CCJ did, however, award Titan BZ$100,000 in vindicatory damages after it considered the high-handed manner in which the search and seizure operation was conducted.

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

Caribbean Court of Justice orders release of convicted murderer

Caribbean Court of Justice orders release of convicted murderer

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Oct 17, CMC – The Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Wednesday ordered the release of Japhet Bennett, who had been found guilty of a 2009 murder in Belize.

Bennett had been convicted of murdering Ellis Meighan Sr. in Belize City and was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2013.

During his trial, Marlon Middleton, the brother in law of the murdered man denied sections of his statement to the police that had identified Bennett as standing over the body with a gun.   The jury, however, found him guilty of murder despite a submission by his attorney that there was little evidence to convict his client.

But the CCJ, by a 4-1 majority decision, allowed Bennett’s appeal after it found that there had been no other evidence which could have allowed the jury to properly assess the reliability of Middleton’s statement, and for that reason, the trial judge should have stopped the trial.

Justice Denys Barrow explained that there was no useful value in Middleton’s description of the shooter, his attire and the gun because there was no other evidence to confirm any of these matters.

He said that on the evidence “the jury would have been left to guess and could only reach a guilty verdict on a gut feeling”.

Additionally, Justice Barrow found the fact that Middleton waited two days to make the statement, in circumstances where he was first on the scene of his sister’s husband murder, undermined the reliability of his statement.

But Madame Rajnauth-Lee did not agree with the other members of the panel who heard the appeal. She contended that this was a case where an eyewitness sufficiently recognised someone known to him. In light of the very detailed description of the shooter, and the conditions in which he was identified, it was therefore a matter for the jury to determine whether to believe Middleton’s statement to the police or his denial of that statement in court.

In 2009, Mr. Middleton had given a detailed statement to the police two days after Meighan was shot and killed. He claimed that he was riding his bicycle in the vicinity of the shooting when he heard gunshots.   Middleton said that he then sped towards the area and saw a body on the ground. He said also he saw a man, who he recognised as Bennett, standing about two feet away from the body with a gun in his hand. His statement also revealed that Middleton had been approximately 40 feet away from the body, in a well-lit area, with nothing obstructing his view.  Additionally, he stated that he had known Bennett for about four months and had seen him one week before the shooting.

But at the trial Middleton denied that he had seen Bennett at the scene of the crime.

The prosecution pointed out that Middleton had given a contradictory statement to the police and that that statement was made of his own free will and was accurately recorded by a police officer, in the presence of a Justice of the Peace, and signed by Middleton.

The trial judge admitted the statement into evidence and it was read aloud to the jury. There was no other evidence linking Bennett to the shooting.

Bennett’s lawyer then requested that the judge stop the case and direct that the jury acquit his client of all charges as there was insufficient evidence linking him to the crime.

The judge refused the request and the jury eventually found Bennett guilty of murder.

The matter was then appealed to the Court of Appeal of Belize, but that court upheld. Bennett’s conviction.

Posted in Court, Crime, International, Local, News, Police, Regional0 Comments

Opposition not in agreement with deployment of RSS troops

Opposition not in agreement with deployment of RSS troops

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Oct 16, CMC – The main opposition St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) says it is not in agreement with a decision by the Timothy Harris government to allow for the deployment of members of the Regional Security Services (RSS) in a bid to  enhance the safety and security on the twin island Federation.

SKNLP leader and former prime minister Dr. Denzil Douglas has written to the chairman of the sub-regional Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves expressing his party’s position on the matter. St. Kitts-Nevis belongs to the nine-member grouping.

Opposition Leader Dr. Denzil Douglas (File Photo)

In the letter, Douglas said that “since the coming to power of Dr Harris …(there has been) a palpable shift away from our position of democracy towards a dictatorship.

“The opposition is being systematically stifled through the illegal curtailment of our right to speak in parliament, to the denial of access to public spaces such as community centers and the denial of access to the state-owned radio and television,” Douglas said.

In a radio and television broadcast on Sunday night, Prime Minister Harris defended the deployment of the RSS troops telling the nation ‘we are concerned that there must be a reduction in the incidences of criminal acts in our country.

“In this regard, we have over time engaged civil society and our security forces in conversations about what can and should be done,” the Prime Minister said, adding that after consultation with the police high command and other technocrats in the Ministry of National Security , the Cabinet approved a recommendation to invite the RSS.

“The High Command of the Police has advised that the Force would benefit from additional manpower at this time.  The shortage of manpower affects the ability of the Police to properly execute their strategic plan and has prompted the call from them for the RSS to augment the number of security personnel on the ground.”

Harris said the RSS forces which started arriving here last week would “continue to arrive into St. Kitts and Nevis in sufficient numbers to assist our ongoing efforts at ensuring citizen safety and security”.

He said that they are already being deployed throughout the communities with local national security personnel, and it is believed that their presence will help local law enforcement to expand the extent of their coverage of the country.

But the Opposition Leader said that the party has understood there are plans to imprison key supporters in the coming weeks.

“We have learnt through our intelligence that the next phase of Dr Harris’ campaign of dictatorship will be the imprisonment of members of the opposition and key opposition supporters,” he said, noting that over the past four months, two senior police officers resident in his district and who performed security details for him had been shot “under unexplained circumstances.

“Two of the persons allegedly involved in the shooting deaths of the police officers have themselves been executed in shootouts, one in which the police was involved and the other under strange circumstances”.

Douglas further alleged that a police officer who had been assisting him was recently arrested and denied bail on the grounds that he was driving with an expired licence. He said the matter will be heard in court on November 29.

Posted in Court, Crime, Local, Police, Politics, Regional0 Comments

Man given life sentence for raping eight year-old child

Man given life sentence for raping eight year-old child

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Oct 3, CMC – A 34-year-old man was sentenced to life imprisonment after he was found guilty of raping an eight year old child three years ago.

The Court heard that David Alexander, who opted not to endure a trial and entered the guilty plea before Justice JoAnn Barlow started the case, committed the offence on February 24, 2015.

“Guilty with explanation…” the accused said, and his attorney, Clyde Forde, said that his client claimed that at the time of the incident he was drunk and cannot remember all that occurred on the day of the incident.

He offered an apology to the Court and his victim.

“He was just 31 at that time living with his brother and has no previous convictions.” Forde said, adding that his client saved the court much judicial time and pleaded with the judge to consider the factors and exercise justice with mercy.

In her letter to the Court, the young victim expressed her ongoing hurt over the incident, explaining that it was something she will never forget. The child said she thought she was about to be killed.

Before handing down her sentence, Justice Barlow said being drunk cannot be an excuse for the crime committed.

She said that the child was traumatized by the incident and had to undergo surgeries for the injuries she sustained during the heinous act.

“In this case there is no mitigating circumstance because of the damage done,” she said, adding that when consuming alcohol, a man must remain in control of his faculties and that is no excuse for causing damage, especially to that of an eight-year-old.

The judge said that while in prison, Alexander should be exposed to counselling sessions, classes for alcohol problems and use his time to reflect on what he had done.

Posted in Court, Crime, International, Kids, Local, News, Regional, Youth0 Comments

NCC chairman denies public education one-sided in favour of CCJ

NCC chairman denies public education one-sided in favour of CCJ

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Oct 3, CMC – The chairman of the National Coordinating Committee (NCC) spearheading the public education and sensitization programme on the Privy Council and the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Dr. Clarence Henry, Wednesday dismissed suggestions that the campaign leading up to next month’s referendum is “one–sided” and appealed to nationals to get as much information on the issue ahead of the vote.

Antigua and Barbuda will vote on November 6 on whether or not to replace the London-based Privy Council with the CCJ as the island’s highest and final court.

Dr. Clarence Henry

Speaking at a breakfast meeting organised by the Antigua and Barbuda Chamber of Commerce and the NCC, Henry urged nationals to ensure they are well informed on the issue before casting their ballots next month.

“Let your voices be heard. Please be an arm chair pundit utilizing the safety of your chair or bedroom to speak to the issues,” he said, noting “every time we approach persons who support the Privy Council to engage as a panelist, only a few answer the call.
“Yet I hear the untrue accusation of one-sided campaign. That is far from the truth or reality,” he said, insisting that the question in the education drive is whether Antigua and Barbuda should migrate from the Privy Council to the Trinidad-based CCJ.

“The voting public will determine that question in a referendum on November 6…, much like general elections, where you are required to go visit the prescribed voting station, and in the booth answer “yes” or “no”. It is your decision that will determine Antigua and Barbuda’s fate.”

He acknowledged the results of the referendum will have “wide ranging implications for the country’s future,” saying that the mandate of the NCC is to help in that determination by providing the requisite information and facts so that voters could make an informed choice.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, brother and sisters, comrades: please take these matters seriously. Please do not ignore the discussions, but take the time to obtain the unadulterated truth. Do not go down the wrong path believing that the decision on referendum day will not affect you. It will.”

He said he was challenging voters not to be overwhelmed by the avalanche of information, but carefully sift through to determine what fake or genuine.

“Only you, can determine that through research. There are a large volume of primary and secondary materials to assist in your discovery of the facts.

“Moreover, I urge you to critically analyze what the purveyors of gloom and doom, those arm-chair pundits that meddle in every discussion, who pretend to be the bastions of wisdom and the paragons of virtue on every conceivable subject, who never seem to see the greater good in developmental matters, only to espouse negative traits of discouragement ignoring the essence of a pragmatic vision surrounding the development of our countries. “

Henry said the time has come for Antigua and Barbuda to seriously discuss the ramifications of staying with the Privy Council or going with the CCJ  saying pivotal to the discussions is the macro-economic, political and legislative underpinning of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) “ the platform for growth and sustainable development of our countries”.

The CCJ was established in 2001 and while many of the Caribbean countries are signatories to its Original jurisdiction, only Barbados, Belize, Dominica and Guyana have signed on to the court’s Appellate jurisdiction. The CCJ also serves as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the 15-member regional integration movement.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Court, Education, International, Legal, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

Court grants man million dollar bail

Court grants man million dollar bail

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Oct 9, CMC – A 42-year-old man, who was arrested in January after police allegedly found an estimated EC$12 million (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) worth of cocaine in his possession, has been granted bail.

High Court judge, Keith Thom granted bail to Deon Perkins who has been charged with possession, possession with intent to transfer, being concerned with the supply of cocaine and trafficking 286 bricks or 740.8 pounds of cocaine.

The drugs has a street value of EC$11.807 million.

Police said that the accused was arrested by officers of the Office of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy (ONDCP) on January 3 near the Sir George Walter Highway.

His attorney Warren Cassell said bail had been secured in the sum of one million dollars and that 10 pieces of land had been put up as security to make sure Perkins is available for all his court dates and trial.

In addition, Perkins has to surrender his passport to the court, avoid any contact with the witnesses in the state’s case against him, and report to the policy on a daily basis.

The accused is also required to continue residing at his current address and should give the authorities, in writing, 48 hours if he plans to re-locate.

Posted in Court, Crime, Local, News, Police, Regional0 Comments

Opposition Leader wins defamation lawsuit against her former cabinet colleague

Opposition Leader wins defamation lawsuit against her former cabinet colleague

 

October 10, 2018
88 views
 

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Oct 10, CMC – A High Court Wednesday ruled in favour of Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar, in her defamation lawsuit against the Sunshine Publishing Company Limited owned by Austin Jack Warner, who once served as a senior minister in her coalition People’s Partnership government.

Austin Jack Warner and Kamla Persad Bissessar in happier times (File Photo)

Persad Bissessar had taken the legal action after the newspaper published an article on December 4, 2015, under the headline “Kamla facing extradition to US”.

The article was based on an October 12, 2012 letter allegedly from then United States Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

When the matter came up for hearing in the San Fernando High Court, south of here on Wednesday, Persad Bissessar confirmed that the contents of her witness statement filed in March 2017, were true.

Justice David Harris said there is to be damages for libel inclusive of aggravating and exemplary damages and cost for the claimant. He also ordered that there be an injunction restricting the defendant from further publishing the allegation or any similar allegation and cost for the claim.

Damages are to be assessed before a Master on a date to be fixed.

Warner was not present in court.

Posted in Court, International, Legal, Local, News, Politics, Regional0 Comments

Please Support The Montserrat Reporter

This is bottom line for us! Unless we receive your support, our effort will not be able to continue. Whatever and however you can, please support The Montserrat Reporter in whatever amount you can (and whatever frequency) – and it only takes a minute.
Thank you

TMR print pages

RBC – Important Client Notice

RBC Montserrat Reporter- Entrust Notice

Know about your Land Transactions

Newsletter

Archives

Flow: Unlimited Messaging

https://indd.adobe.com/embed/2b4deb22-cf03-4509-9bbd-938c7e8ecc7d