A weekly digest of legal news under the following headings:-
Before the Courts
Developments in the profession
Law and Society
Beyond our shores
OPPOSITION Leader Andrew Holness yesterday said he has accepted the decision of the Court of Appeal against him in relation to his controversial dismissal of Arthur Williams (and Dr Christopher Tufton) from the Senate in November 2013, saying that closure has been “brought to the legal issues” arising from the ouster. The statement strongly suggests that the Jamaica Labour Party leader will not take the case to the Privy Council.
The judgment can be found here.
The Full Court this morning shot down the lawsuit brought by Leighton ‘Livity’ Coke, the brother of Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, against the State over his alleged assault by soldiers at the Horizon Adult Remand Centre and the use of soldiers at the facility.
Paymaster Jamaica Limited has won its appeal against GraceKennedy Remittance Services in its copyright lawsuit. The Court of Appeal ruled that Paymaster owns the copyright to the software programme it uses to undertake its bill payment business. However, the court dismissed Paymaster’s appeal against computer programmer, Paul Lowe.The Appeals Court has ordered that the matter should now go to the Supreme Court for damages to be assessed in favour of Paymaster.
More than $18 million in damages was awarded to former People’s National Movement (PNM) finance minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira by a High Court judge yesterday after judgment was delivered in her favour, in a lawsuit filed against Gulf View Medical Centre Ltd, following the death of her husband in 2004.
The Court of Appeal has refused to grant leave to the minority opposition Independent Liberal Party (ILP) to go the London-based Privy Council challenging the constitutionality of the Constitution Amendment Bill.
Before the courts
West Indies cricketer Lendl Simmons will appear in court on September 28 in relation to a lawsuit filed by an advertising executive who has accused him of releasing intimate photos of herself.
THE Jamaican Bar Association yesterday commenced its challenge to a provision in the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) that requires attorneys to establish procedures to detect and report suspected cases of money laundering. Failure on the part of attorneys to comply with the requirements exposes them to criminal sanctions under the Act, ranging from a fine to imprisonment. Solicitor General, Nicole Foster Pusey, has submitted that amendments to the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) do not infringe on the constitution and that the laws are not arbitrary.
Jamaican Supreme Court judge Lennox Campbell has reserved judgment in an application seeking to bar the Local Government Minister from issuing an order ratifying boundary changes in the Portmore Municipal.
23 year old Akeem Thurton had expected to go home today after Court of Appeal Justices Samuel Awich, Dennis Morrison and Christopher Blackman ruled on his case. Despite being convicted in March of 2012 in the first ever trial of a murder charge heard by a judge alone – in this case Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin – without a jury present, he has told all who will listen that it was not he, but the late Ricky Valencia who sensationally shot senior attorney Rodwell Williams outside his law firm Barrow and Williams on May 31, 2010.
Kartel Juror Bribery Case
The trial into Livingston Cain’s alleged attempted bribery of jurors in the Vybz Kartel murder case started last week. You can follow updates on witness testimonies that one had partying on his mind, here. Among the interesting features of this case is that fact that media has been barred from naming the witnesses in the case.
Four convicted drug traffickers whose appeals against stiff jail terms were dismissed last month, have taken their grievances to the region’s highest court, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
Law and Society
“We cannot pat ourselves on the shoulder at having gone into independence; having de-colonised our politics; we cannot pat ourselves on the shoulders at having decolonized our jurisprudence by delinking from the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council and explain to anybody why we continue to have a monarchical system.
The Barbados Fair Trading Commission (FTC) Friday gave conditional approval for the moves by the British telecommunications giant, Cable and Wireless Communication (CWC) to acquire Columbus Communication International (CCI), operators of FLOW in the Caribbean.
In Jamaica, Director of Public Prosecutions(DPP) Paula Llewellyn says that her office will soon determine whether charges will be brought against Councillor Shernet Haughton following allegations of nepotism, favouritism and conflicts of interest in the recommendation for the award of government contracts to relatives and persons affiliated with Haughton while she was mayor of Lucea.
Kent Gammon, the Jamaica Labour Party’s deputy spokesman on Justice, has expressed deep disappointment in Justice Minister Mark Golding’s response to the party leader Andrew Holness’ suggestion to operate magistrate’s courts in select police stations.
Solicitor General, Nicole Foster Pusey, says lawyers can seek legal advice before making reports if they are not sure whether transactions involving their clients are criminal.
The Government is to centralise legal services as part of a move to reform the public sector. “The real problem with legal services in Government, the constant complaint is that it takes too long to get the attorney general’s opinion on a number of things that need to move forward speedily. One way of addressing that is to incorporate the legal officers in the various ministries and agencies, who will be operating under the auspices of the attorney general,”
St. Lucian Attorney at Law Mary Francis believes that Police Commissioner, Vernon Francios and some other members of his management team should be suspended from duty based on the finding of an investigation into alleged extra judicial killings by members of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force(RSLPF). The report also suggested that the actions of members of the RSLPF in relation to several shootings between 2010 and 2011 prompted the United States to withdraw all forms of assistance to the police force citing allegations of gross human rights violations.
The Grand Bahama Human Rights Association (GBHRA) says it hopes Government’s participation in the hearings before the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IACHR) will serve as an opportunity for all stakeholders to work together on improving human rights in The Bahamas.
The Office of The Children’s Advocate (OCA) today welcomed the announcement for the law to be amended to allow stiffer penalties for poeple who kill pregnant girls.
Norman Manley Law School To Increase Fees To Fund Expansion
The Norman Manley Law School is set to increase fees significantly come next year. The increase in fees was confirmed by principal of the law school Carol Aina. Fees for students going into the second year of the programme will see an increase of 28 per cent and those students going into the first year will see an increase of 48 per cent.
Attorneys for former St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas are demanding an apology, a retraction of the posting on Facebook and significant sums in damages from persons who declared on social media that the United States had revoked Dr. Douglas’ visa ahead of the last general election.
The Cayman Islands Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions appointed Patrick Michael Moran as its new deputy director. He is a specialist in white collar crime, money laundering and asset forfeiture and has prosecuted in several agencies in the United Kingdom.
President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Sir Dennis Byron, recently presented a lecture at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus, which underscored the impact and influence of the Magna Carta on Caribbean law.
The full text of the speech can be found here.
Justice Maureen Ranjnauth – Lee was sworn in as a Judge of the Caribbean Court of Justice(CCJ) this past Friday. She is the first woman from Trinidad and Tobago to be appointed to the CCJ bench.
Commonwealth law experts will meet in New York to ensure negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda reflect rule of law and justice perspectives of small states.
Bahamas Bar Association President Elsworth Johnson said on Thursday that an allegation that Agriculture Minister V. Alfred Gray interfered in a judicial matter is “embarrassing” and “gives the country a black eye”.
The Cayman Islands which currently has little copyright protection is expected to adopt copyright related provisions included in the United Kingdom’s 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act. This adoption of the UK Act is expected to be a precursor to the island passing its own Copyrights Law which would update its current Patent and Trademarks Law.
“It is just not practical and proper to hold a decent and successful constitutional referendum in Grenada in the near future; this position is consistent with undisputable evidence. It would therefore be very irresponsible and outrageous to conduct the referendum contrary to the compelling circumstances on not to so do; and no goodwill and genuine persons should encourage and support this despicable behaviour.”
Beyond our shores
Cuba said it will hold talks next Tuesday with the United States on human rights, one of the most delicate issues pending in their historic rapprochement, insisting that both sides’ records should be scrutinised.
A Paris court ruled that it has the jurisdiction to hear a case being brought by a French teacher against Facebook which blocked the teacher’s account after he posted an 19th century picture of a vulva. The court held that Facebook’s clause which forced all users to agree that any litigation must be based in California, where the site is based was “abusive”.
The United States Supreme Court found in favour of Peggy Young in the highly anticipated case of Young v UPS which dealt with the question of employment discrimination against pregnant women. The Court held that employers are required in accordance with the Pregnancy Discrimination Act to make on the job accommodations for pregnant employees where they have provided accommodations for a large percent of non pregnant employees “similar in their ability or inability to work”.