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Man charged with air rage, wins appeal

Man charged with air rage, wins appeal

HAMILTON, Bermuda, Aug 21, CMC  – A 53-year-old Bermudian man who was fined US$700 for shouting obscenities at crew members and a family during a flight from London to Bermuda has had his conviction overturned on appeal.

Attorney Peter Sanderson argued that his client, Helder Viera, could not be convicted in Bermuda as there was no proof the offence happened inside the island’s jurisdiction.

Supreme Court Puisne Judge Shade Subair found that under the legislation, the offence had to happen in Bermuda or on a Bermuda-registered aircraft to secure a conviction.

Justice Subair in a written judgement Tuesday said “regrettably, the learned magistrate (Khamisi Tokunbo) was never addressed on this jurisdiction issue.

“The Crown, having brought the charges before the court, clearly did so under a misguided notion that it was well placed to do so. Further, the appellant was not represented by Mr Sanderson in the Magistrates’ Court when he entered his guilty plea.

“The Crown did not present any evidence before the court to prove that any relevant part of the appellant’s offensive conduct occurred in Bermuda and there was no evidence before the court to suggest that the aircraft concerned was registered in Bermuda. For these reasons, the conviction is unsafe,” Justice Subair said.

Viera was arrested on December 31 last year after an incident on board a British Airways flight from Gatwick.

In January, the Magistrates’ Court heard that Viera began to hurl obscenities at a young family with an infant about two hours into the flight. Viera was warned by cabin crew to calm down.

He later pleaded guilty to using threatening, abusive, insulting words and threatening behaviour under the Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) Order.

That legislation does extend to Bermuda, but Justice Subair said that offences must happen in Bermuda or over its territorial waters to be prosecuted in the island’s courts.

During Viera’s court case seven months ago Magistrate Tokunbo said the maximum US$1,000 fine for the offence was “peanuts”.

“This penalty encourages people to behave like this,” he added.

Posted in Court, International, Legal, Local, News, Regional, Travel0 Comments

Former Attorney General urges country to put aside partisan politics ahead of referendum

Former Attorney General urges country to put aside partisan politics ahead of referendum

ST. JOHN’S, ANTIGUA, Aug. 16, CMC – Former Attorney General Justin Simon QC, has called on the population to put aside partisan politics in the runup to a referendum on the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), scheduled for later this year.

During an interview on state media, Simon this is what he will be pushing while on the trail to promote the Trinidad based CCJ.

Justin Simon

“I am not saying that people will not have their political difference, but let us sink them in respect to this particular cause.”

Simon, who served as AG under a previous administration of the United Progressive Party (UPP), made comments following  calls by the UPP – now the main opposition party, for the referendum to include more than one item in the context of constitutional reform.

However, the former Attorney General believes that the referendum should remain a one issue initiative.

“I am of the strong opinion and view that the CCJ should be dealt with on its own by itself. We look at the experience of Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines which placed other issues of constitutional reform on the table and that was rejected,” Simon said.

The London-based Privy Council presently serves as the island’s final court and the referendum on November 6 will allow for the population to indicate whether they intend to join the CCJ that was established in 2001.

While many of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries are signatories to the Original Jurisdiction of the CCJ, only Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Guyana have signed on to the Appellate Jurisdiction of the court that also serves as an international tribunal that interprets the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the regional integration movement.

CMC/kb/2018

Posted in CARICOM, Education, Legal, Local, News, OECS, Politics, Regional0 Comments

Antigua announces “non-stop” campaign ahead of CCJ referendum0

Antigua announces “non-stop” campaign ahead of CCJ referendum0

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Aug 14, CMC – Attorney General Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin has announced the start of a “non-stop campaign” ahead of a referendum vote in November on whether or not Antigua and Barbuda should make the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as its final court.

The London-based Privy Council presently serves as the island’s final court and Benjamin said that the referendum on November 6 will allow for the population to indicate whether they intend to join the CCJ that was established in 2001.

Attorney General Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin

“We want to make sure Antiguans are brought up to date with the real purpose of the CCJ. So we are starting a campaign, a non-stop campaign from now until the day of the elections.

“I just want to talk with my fellow Antiguans and Barbudans today. Search your soul, search your heart. Are you really independent? Are you really a Caribbean person? How can you say you are independent when you don’t control your Court of Appeal,” Benjamin asked.

Benjamin urged nationals to ensure that they are registered to participate in the referendum, saying that the last date for registration is August 31.

“So you could have your challenges, objections etc. But to get on the final list. The list will be published in October you’ve got to register by the 31st of August this year,” Benjamin said.

The referendum will be held on November 6.

While many of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries are signatories to the Original Jurisdiction of the CCJ, only Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Guyana have signed on to the Appellate Jurisdiction of the court that also serves as an international tribunal that interprets the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the regional integration movement.

Posted in CARICOM, Education, International, Legal, Local, News, OECS, Politics, Regional0 Comments

(Joshua Roberts / Reuters)

FBI Agent Peter Strzok Fired Over Anti-Trump Text Messages

Ryan J. Reilly

HuffPost
 
 
(Joshua Roberts / Reuters)
 
(Joshua Roberts / Reuters)

WASHINGTON ― FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok, who was taken off special counsel Robert Mueller’s team after his texts disparaging President Donald Trump were discovered by Justice Department investigators, has been fired from the bureau despite the recommendations of a career FBI official.

Aitan Goelman, Strzok’s attorney, said in a statement that Strzok was fired late Friday afternoon despite a FBI career official’s recommendation that Strzok face a 60-day suspension and a demotion.

Goelman called the decision “a departure from typical Bureau practice” and said it contradicted FBI Director Chris Wray’s guarantee that the bureau would follow its regular process, despite Trump’s disdain for the now-former FBI official.

“This decision should be deeply troubling to all Americans. A lengthy investigation and multiple rounds of Congressional testimony failed to produce a shred of evidence that Special Agent Strzok’s personal views ever affected his work,” Goelman said. “In fact, in his decades of service, Special Agent Strzok has proved himself to be one of the country’s top counterintelligence officers, leading to only one conclusion ― the decision to terminate was taken in response to political pressure, and to punish Special Agent Strzok for political speech protected by the First Amendment, not on a fair and independent examination of the facts. It is a decision that produces only one winner ― those who seek to harm our country and weaken our democracy.”

Strzok exchanged texts with former FBI official Lisa Page that disparaged Trump as well as other politicians, including various Democrats. He testified last monthafter the release of an inspector general report on the handling of the FBI’s Hillary Clinton probe that described anti-Trump texts exchanged by bureau officials.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Ryan Reilly is HuffPost’s senior justice reporter covering the Justice Department, federal law enforcement, criminal justice and legal affairs. Have a tip? Reach him at ryan.reilly@huffpost.com or on Signal at 202-527-9261.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
 
 
 

Posted in Legal, News, Politics, Regional0 Comments

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Same Sex Marriage debate: Lord Ahmad rejects imposing on the OTs

UK Minister Lord Tariq Ahmad rejects suggestions of imposing same sex marriages on Overseas Territories like Cayman.
The issue was raised in the House of Lords on Monday (23 July) after a question was posed on the issue. Legislators accused the UK Government of double standards. They said the government imposed beneficial ownership registries on Cayman and other overseas territories yet refuse to do the same for the human rights of the LGBTQ community.Lord Ahmad said the impositon of the registries was “the will of the other place was such that the will of Parliament was upheld by the Government.”

“We would rather not have been in that position. On this issue, we continue to respect the autonomy. However, at the same time, I assure the noble Baroness that we work very progressively. We have seen in recent developments in places such as Bermuda how the courts domestically are reacting to the importance of progressing this issue,” said Lord Ahmad.

Now the UK government made the same vow not to impose public registries, But that changed earlier this year when it came to amending the Sanctions and Anti-Money laundering law. We reached out to the Premier’s Office for comment on this issue. We are yet to hear back.

Posted in International, Legal, Local, News, Police0 Comments

New CCJ President to be honoured with special sitting

New CCJ President to be honoured with special sitting

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Jul. 12, CMC – The new president of the Trinidad and Tobago based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Justice Adrian Saunders will be honoured on Friday, 13th in the first of two special sittings for the regional court.

Justice Adrian Saunders

Friday’s sitting will be held at the headquarters here , while the second sitting will take place in Saunders’ home country of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on July 20.

The new President was installed at a ceremony in Montego Bay, Jamaica  last week.

The special sitting will be attended by members of the legal community and other organisations across the region.

On Friday evening the Caribbean Association of Judicial Officers (CAJO) will host a fundraising dinner party to honour the new CCJ President, who is also chairman of the organisation.

Justice  Saunders, a native of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, graduated from the University of the West Indies , Cave Hill Campus with a Bachelor of Laws degree   in 1975 and a Legal Education Certificate from the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad & Tobago in 1977.

In 2005,  Justice Saunders was among the first cohort of judges to join the CCJ bench before being elevated to President.

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

Judge to hand down decision on request to strike out case against Opposition Leader

Judge to hand down decision on request to strike out case against Opposition Leader

BASSETERRE, St Kitts, July 13, CMC – A High Court judge will today, Friday, hand down his decision in the Dominica diplomatic passport case brought against Opposition Leader Dr Denzil Douglas by a private citizen.

Justice Trevor Ward’s decision is expected to be delivered at 1:30 p.m.

Opposition Leader Dr Denzil Douglas

Douglas’ lawyers, Anthony Astaphan SC, Delano Bart QC, Sylvester Anthony and Angelina Gracey Sookoo-Bobb, during a two-hour hearing last Friday, asked Justice Ward to strike out a claim by Cuthbert Mills that their client is not qualified to be the Parliamentary Representative for the constituency of St Christopher 6 because he has a Dominica diplomatic passport.

The team submitted a number of reasons why Mills’ claim ought to be struck out in its entirety or, in the alternative, certain paragraphs.

“Our reason for trying to strike out the entire claim is that under Section 36 (4) of the (St Kitts and Nevis) Constitution which allows a challenge to a member of the house who is duly elected but since then there is an allegation arose that challenges his qualification to remain the house, only allows for a single challenge to be brought and in the circumstances where a challenge is brought by a voter, the Attorney General can intervene, however there is no such provision where the Attorney General has first filed and so because of the very strict nature of the section 36 of the Constitution, there is no provision allowing for what is considered a second challenge, particularly given the way that Mr Mills has chosen to prosecute his case,” said Sookoo-Bobb.

The defence team contended that Mills failed to specifically point out what are the laws of Dominica that he alleges amount to Douglas being in allegiance to the Commonwealth of Dominica as a foreign power.

She also referred to Mills’ attachment, as evidence, of the front page of the St Kitts-Nevis Observer newspaper which he purported to have a copy of Douglas’ diplomatic passport.

“Mr Mills cannot exhibit that document. We argued that it is inadmissible,” said Sookoo-Bobb, who further pointed out that looking at the document there is absolutely no passport number tying his client to the diplomatic passport, and it is an incomplete document seemingly Photoshopped.

Mills also relied on Facebook postings which Douglas’ lawyers described as “hearsay”.

She said it was curious as to how Mills was able to obtain documents which are private and ought to be kept in the custody of the Supervisor of Elections.

Mills submitted a copy of Douglas’ Nomination Paper that was obtained without an order of the High Court in which the National Elections Act specifically states that those documents are to be kept in the private custody of the Supervisor of Elections unless there is a court order allowing disclosure.

“We also challenged the three public officers who are attached to the Immigration Department who went into the immigration system and provided Mr. Mills with Dr. Douglas’ alleged date of travel, the aircraft number that he travelled on and his alleged dominica diplomatic passport number. We thought that is a serious and obscene breach of Dr. Douglas’ right to privacy that public officials can use their positions to retrieve private information about Dr. Douglas and give that to an ordinary citizen for the purposes of bringing what we consider a politically-malicious claim against Dr. Douglas.

“The court should strike out these immediately and they ought not to be in this matter one day longer,” Sookoo said.

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

Diplomatic passport case filed by private citizen - ruled abuse of process

Diplomatic passport case filed by private citizen – ruled abuse of process

BASSETERRE, St Kitts, Friday July 13, CMC – Opposition Leader Dr Denzil Douglas scored a legal victory on Friday when a High Court judge threw out a challenge filed by a private citizen to his right to sit in Parliament on the basis of his ownership of a Dominica diplomatic passport.

High Court Judge Trevor Ward ruled that the civil suit brought by Cuthbert Mills “was an abuse of the process”, since it had come after Attorney General Vincent Byron had already filed a similar claim.

Opposition Leader Dr Denzil Douglas celebrates after the ruling.

Mills had submitted a claim that Douglas is not qualified to be the Parliamentary Representative for the constituency of St Christopher 6 because he has a Dominica diplomatic passport. But during a two-hour hearing last Friday, Douglas’ lawyers, Anthony Astaphan SC, Delano Bart QC, Sylvester Anthony and Angelina Gracey Sookoo-Bobb asked the judge for the claim to be struck out.

Sookoo-Bobb told the media after the ruling that Justice Ward had agreed with the former prime minister’s legal team that Mills’ claim amounted to an abuse of the process of the court, having been filed one month after Byron’s claim.

The court ruled that under the constitution, Mills was not allowed to bring a second claim or to intervene.

The issue of cost has been reserved and submissions will be made as to whether or not Mills will pay Douglas’ cost and how much he should pay.

“Those submissions are to be filed by July 19, 2018,” said Sookoo-Bobb.

The case brought by the Attorney General is to be heard on September 28.

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

CCJ strikes down mandatory death penalty in Barbados

CCJ strikes down mandatory death penalty in Barbados

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Jun. 27, CMC – The Trinidad and Tobago based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has ruled that the mandatory death penalty in Barbados is unconstitutional.

The CCJ, which is the highest court for Barbados, made the ruling based on two unrelated death penalty cases from Barbados.

The cases, Jabari Sensimania Nervais v The Queen and Dwayne Omar Severin v The Queen, were consolidated because both appeals challenged the murder convictions of each of the men and the constitutionality of the mandatory death sentence for murder in Barbados.

The Court stated that a section of the Offences Against the Person Act was unconstitutional because it provided for a mandatory sentence of death.

In addition, both men had their appeals against their convictions dismissed.

Before examining the issues raised by the appeal, the regional court considered the state of the mandatory death penalty in Barbados for murder and found that it was indisputable that the nation, through its actions, had acknowledged that it had an obligation to remove such mandatory sentence under section 2 of the Offences against the Person Act.

The court also noted that Barbados had also given undertakings to the CCJ and the Inter American Court of Human Rights to rectify the mandatory sentence which was reflected in the Barbados Privy Council’s consistent commutation of the mandatory death penalty.

The CCJ held that section 11 of the Constitution, which gives the right to protection of the law, was enforceable.

The CCJ also found that the mandatory death penalty breached that right as it deprived a court of the opportunity to exercise the quintessential judicial function of tailoring the punishment to fit the crime.

The CCJ ordered that the appellants be expeditiously brought before the Supreme Court for resentencing.

As it relates to the cases  – Nervais was convicted of the murder of Jason Barton and the mandatory sentence of death by hanging was imposed on him.

It’s reported that Barton was selling from a booth when an alarm was raised that caused him, and the people gathered around, to run away. Gunshots were fired by a group of men and  . Barton was struck by a bullet and died.

Nervais was  later arrested and charged with Barton’s murder after he made oral statements and a written confession to a police officer.

The Court of Appeal in Barbados dismissed his appeal against conviction and affirmed his sentence.

In the other case,   Severin was convicted before a judge and jury for the murder of  Virgil Barton in the parish of St. Phillip.

The prosecution relied heavily on the evidence of  Barton’s nephew,  who testified that he saw two men shoot at the deceased.

During investigations,  the police conducted a search of   Severin’s residence and found a Taurus semi-automatic gun along with thirty-one 9mm rounds in his bedroom.

In his appeal to the CCJ,   Severin challenged the reliability of  his nephew’s evidence, the fairness of the informal identification parade, and the instructions given by the judge to the jury at the trial.

The appeals were heard together on January 25 by the Bench of the CCJ comprising the  CCJ President Sir Dennis Byron.

These are the last judgments that the Byron will deliver as CCJ President as he will demit office on July 4.

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

Date set for CCJ referendum

Date set for CCJ referendum

by STAFF WRITER

JOHN’S, Antigua, Jun. 14, CMC – The government has announced that a refendum on the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), will be held here on November 26.

Last month, the Gaston Browne led administration revealed plans to hold a referendum by year end on whether or not the island will adopt the Trinidad and Tobago based CCJ, as its final court. 

In announcing the date of the referendum, the government said an education programme, geared towards the process, will most likely intensify following carnival celebrations. 

The CCJ was established in 2001 to replace the London-based Privy Council as the region’s final court, but while many of the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries are signatories to the court’s Original jurisdiction, only Barbados, Guyana, Belize and Dominica are members of its Appellate jurisdiction.

The CCJ also functions as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the regional integration movement.

In 2016, the government had hoped that the referendum would have been held by March 2017, however,   opposition legislators and others then warned that citizens were not fully educated on the issue.

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

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