Law in the news (March 9-15, 2015)

A weekly digest of legal news under the following headings:-

Decided Cases

Before the Courts

Debated Legislation/Bills

Developments in the profession

Law and Society


Beyond our shores

Decided Cases

CCJ Tells BNE To Pay Arbitral Award 

Last week Friday, the Caribbean Court of Justice handed down a judgment from Belize, ordering Belize Natural Energy to pay Maranco Oil Company 422 thousand, 138 dollars which had been awarded to the oil company through arbitration. This lawsuit turned on the premise that all arbitration awards are final.

The case can be found here.

Dr Lloyd Cole suffers blow in Court of Appeal

MEDICAL doctor Lloyd Cole suffered a blow in the appellate court last week when a panel of judges refused to relist his application to appeal against his 2012 indecent assault conviction.

jamaica CA building

Court blocks teacher’s return

A HIGH COURT judge has ordered that the teacher who allegedly wrote love notes to an 11-year-old pupil, while he taught at the San Fernando Trinidad Muslim League (TML) Primary School in 2011, not be allowed to resume duties at the school until today or until further ordered.

 Before the courts

Human rights head defends decision to sue media

In St Vincent and the Grenadines President of the Human Rights Association (HRA) Nicole Sylvester is defending the decision to sue three media houses, saying the legal action should not be regarded as an anti-human rights stance.

CURE-JPS case going to Privy Council

The Court of Appeal today granted leave for Citizens United for the Reduction of Electricity (CURE) to take its challenge of the Jamaica Public Service’s (JPS) exclusive licence to the Privy Council in the United Kingdom.


Woman misdiagnosed with HIV still awaiting $8m award from Gov’t

KAREN Reid, the mother who was misdiagnosed with HIV while pregnant in 2005, is disgruntled over the length of time it is taking the Court of Appeal to hear the Government’s appeal of the $8 million awarded to her by the Supreme Court close to a year ago.

 JACAP files lawsuits against media houses for copyright breaches

The Jamaica Association of Authors, Composers and Publishers(JACAP) has filed lawsuits against several local media houses for breaches of copyright laws. These lawsuits come after several local artists have expressed their unhappiness with the illegal use of their works. Further lawsuits are expected against cable and venue operators, promoters and hotels .

Bail extended for Attorney at law Miguel Lorne

Attorney at law Miguel Lorne who was apart of the legal team representing the Office of the Public Defender in the Tivoli Gardens Commission of Enquiry and was arrested and charged with forgery and fraudulent conversion had his bail extended to return to court on April 16.

NSWMA Must Pay – Public Defender Wants To Speed Up Trial Over Riverton Fires

Riverton fire. Photo by Karl Mclarty

Riverton fire. Photo by Karl Mclarty

Recently appointed Public Defender Arlene Harrison-Henry is pushing for an early date to try the case brought against the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) in the Supreme Court on behalf of persons affected by fires at the Riverton Dump.

Dominica asks for ‘Lee’-way

tommy-lee-sparta_1The 26-year-old entertainer, whose given name is Leroy Russell, along with three members of his team, Tiasha Oralie Russell, Junior Fraser and Mario Christopher Wallace, were deported from that Caribbean territory a day after their arrival.


CCJ to hear LGBT challenge to Belize immigration law next week

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) will begin hearing the legal challenge brought by LGBT activist Maurice Tomlinson of Jamaica against the states of Belize, and Trinidad and Tobago next week Tuesday, March 17, and Wednesday, March 18. We have been informed by the court that the two cases, JAOJ2013/001 Maurice Tomlinson v Belize and JAOJ2013/002 Maurice Tomlinson v Trinidad and Tobago, will be heard in open court in Port of Spain, Trinidad, via videoconference to Kingston, Jamaica.

Kaieteur News approaches CCJ over $15M judgment

A $15M judgment that was handed down by the Court of Appeal in January against Kaieteur News is headed to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). On Wednesday, Khemraj Ramjattan, lawyer for the National Media and Publishing Company Limited which owns the newspaper, filed a motion asking for leave to appeal the judgment at the CCJ.

Debated Bills/Legislation

Model arbitration law proposed for CARICOM member states

Regional arbitration legislation will be reviewed by stakeholders with a view to bringing Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states up-to-date on its status in various countries and making proposals for new model legislation.

CARICOM secretariat

Law and Society


Guyanese immigration officers sensitized on CSME, CCJ “Myrie ruling”

A team of 31 immigration supervisors drawn from Guyana’s immigration ports including Georgetown, the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Ogle Airport, Bartica and Moleson Creek, were Thursday sensitized about their roles and responsibilities particularly with respect to facilitating the free movement of CARICOM nationals under the CARICOM Single Market (CSM).

IACHR urges respect for women’s reproductive rights in Caribbean

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is urging Caribbean countries to adopt urgent measures to ensure that the sexual and reproductive rights of women are respected. Women in the region are facing very significant obstacles in exercising their sexual and reproductive rights,” said the Rapporteur on the Rights of Women and Chair of the IACHR, Tracy Robinson.

Other OECS states urged to follow Dominica’s CCJ example

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, at the official ceremony in Roseau, noted that Dominica is the first OECS country to take that step, and said that as OECS chairman he would try to influence the rest of the sub-region into taking the final CCJ step. “I will ensure that some governments in the region take steps towards recognizing the court,” Skerrit assured CCJ president Sir Denis Byron. “We need to show greater appreciation for the achievement of our people. Too many times we seek to question who we are as a people, to question our competence,” the Dominican prime minister said.

Former A.G. expects SKN to accede to CCJ

Former attorney general Tapley Seaton says he expects St. Kitts and Nevis to accede to the appellate jurisdiction of the Caribbean Court of Justice in a year or two. Queens Counsel Seaton notes that the CCJ issue is contained in the Team Unity manifesto, and he anticipates some debate on the matter.

St Lucia DPP gives assurances following damning report into police activities

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Victoria Charles Clarke, says she intends to follow the law and constitution of St Lucia as her office deals with a report of alleged extra judicial killings by police officers.

Children’s advocate is national rapporteur on trafficking in persons

Children’s Advocate Diahann Gordon-Harrison as Jamaica’s National Rapporteur on trafficking in persons.

More than 500 lottery scammers arrested in Jamaica under new legislation

National Security Minister, Peter Bunting made the announcement that under the Law Reform(Fraudulent Transactions) (Special Provisions) Act more than 500 persons had been arrested and had assets seized for lottery scamming since the Act was passed in 2013.

Trinidad AG to launch National Prosecution Service based on UK model

Attorney General Garvin Nicholas believed that Trinidad and Tobago is in desperate need of entity to speed up the delivery of justice and feels as though a National Prosecution Service based on the United Kingdom model would help alleviate these issues.

hall of justice T&T

Trinidad regulators deny LIME/Flow merger… for now

The Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) says it will not support the billion-dollar merger involving the British Telecommunications giant, Cable and Wireless Communication (CWC) and Columbus Communications International, at least for now, until certain provisions are met.

Judge: Stop filing frivolous lawsuits

IN dismissing a claim of malicious prosecution brought against a police officer yesterday, Justice Frank Seepersad said there was a disturbing trend of people suing the State after having their criminal matters dismissed.

He said that a strong message has to be sent to citizens that the fact that a case is dismissed before one court, does not entitled them to involve another court and make a claim for malicious prosecution.

Government says it will not interfere in judicial system of Venezuela

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has said her Government cannot and will not interfere in the national security apparatus and judicial system of another country.

Persad-Bissessar made the comment as she responded to a question posed by Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner on the status of five Trinidadian Muslims who are incarcerated in a Venezuelan prison on terrorism charges.


Questions on CCJ for 2 women PMs

WILL the two women Prime Ministers of our Caribbean Community—Jamaica’s Portia Simpson-Miller and Trinidad and Tobago’s Kamla Persad-Bissessar—kindly explain to their citizens and for the benefit also of other partner states of Caricom, why they continue to delay accessing the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as their final appeal court and end the lingering colonial relationship with Britain’s Privy Council?

What is preventing full commitment to the CCJ?

In just over a month – on April 16, 2015 – the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) will mark the tenth anniversary of its inauguration. The creation of the CCJ is arguably the single most important event in the history of the English-Speaking Caribbean since the establishment of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) by Treaty in 1973. In the words of Dr Kenny Anthony, the Prime Minister of St Lucia and a former Legal Counsel to the CARICOM Secretariat, the creation of the CCJ was “a leap into enlightenment.”

Reparations or innovations; wither CARICOM?

In looking at the recent actions of the CARICOM Secretariat to undertake an expensive and expansive task of establishing a commission and committees in 8 member states for the purpose of seeking reparations for former colonial domination, this author questions whether this is a useful step by CARICOM leaders and whether money would be better spent elsewhere in the areas of scientific and technological development instead of what she deems as wishful dead end projects.

The duties and obligations of executors and administrators of estates

This article by Robert Collie discusses the duties and obligations of executors and administrators of estates.


Beyond our shores

Judge reprimanded for scolding jurors over ‘wrong’ verdict

The Ohio Supreme Court says a judge shouldn’t have scolded jurors for issuing a verdict she believed to be wrong. The court concluded Wednesday in a public reprimand that Franklin County Municipal Court Judge Amy Salerno violated a rule requiring judges to behave in ways to promote the judiciary’s integrity and impartiality.

Seven Venezuelan officials targeted by US

The US has targeted at least seven Venezuelan officials with sanctions for alleged human rights violations. Those named, including the head of police, will have assets frozen and be blocked from doing business with American firms or travelling to the US. Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro later appeared on TV with the seven, hailing them as “heroes”.

Jury rules against Robin Thicke & Pharrell Williams in ‘Blurred Lines’ Trial


On Tuesday a California federal jury held that ‘Blurred Lines’ one of the most successful songs of the century was improperly drawn from Marvin Gaye’s song “Got to Give it Up” and Thicke and Williams were ordered to pay a total of (US)$7.4 million in copyright damages and profits attributable to infringement.

Meanwhile, Thicke and Williams’ attorney has indicated that they will be appealing the verdict.

South African judge in Oscar Pistorius case rejects murder appeal challenge

Attorneys for Oscar Pistorius have failed in their attempt to block an appeal by prosecutors against Pistorius’ appeal on murder charges when the Johannesburg High Court rejected their application to stop the prosecutor’s appeal.


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