A weekly digest of legal news under the following headings:-
Before the Courts
Developments in the profession
Law and Society
Beyond our shores
Before the Courts
Columbus Communications Jamaica Limited, trading as Flow, has sued its former managing director Sean Latty and Digicel Jamaica Limited for breach of contract and breach of trade clauses. Columbus Communications is seeking orders to bind Latty to his employment contract with Flow.
The University of the West Indies, Mona student accused of attacking a female colleague in February on Chancellor Hall, one of the halls of residence, returned to court on Tuesday.
Twelve officers facing charges for allegedly pouring hot water on a detained suspect at the Sangre Grande Police Station in Trinidad and Tobago in February appeared before a Magistrate Alexander Prince at the Sangre Grande First Court on Tuesday. The officers face charges ranging from misbehaviour in public office, failure to act and attempting to pervert to course of justice.
“The whole cultivation and dealing in ganja remains illegal, so the only access that’s going to be lawful is the medical side of it, which is a different side altogether,” he said. “What we essentially did was change the penalties relating to possession of small quantities and smoking to make them less punitive, but then it’s still unlawful and it’s still punishable by, in this case, a ticket. What we are going to be doing is stepping up our public education to discourage vulnerable groups, and, in particular, youngsters, from smoking.”
Police have begun sensitizing members on the law.
The Senate was set to debate the Administrator-General’s (Amendment) Bill, 2014. The changes to the Act are aimed at speeding up the administration of multi-generational estates, establishing a framework for the Administrator General to efficiently administer multi-generational estates and intestate estates involving minors.
DEBATE on a Bill for the establishment of a Revenue Appeals Division began in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
The Revenue Appeals Division Bill seeks to establish a separate division within the Ministry of Finance and Planning to hear appeals from aggrieved taxpayers in relation to their revenue liability.
DEBATE on a Bill for the establishment of a Revenue Appeals Division began in the House of Representatives on Tuesday. The Revenue Appeals Division Bill seeks to establish a separate division within the Ministry of Finance and Planning to hear appeals from aggrieved taxpayers in relation to their revenue liability.
Legislation aimed specifically at cybercrime may soon be coming for Barbados. Minister of Commerce and Small Business Development Donville Inniss said today that his ministry would be developing the framework for a Cybercrime Act this year.
Law and Society
CARICOM States are getting closer to getting reparations from former European colonialists. Officials expressed that optimism as they prepared for a three day reparations Summit that began in New York on Thursday. Chairman of the CARICOM Reparations Commission, Sir Hilary Beckles represented the Caribbean at the historic Summit.
Sir Dennis Byron, President of the Caribbean Court of Justice remained positive that the entire region will come around to accepting the CCJ and in particular believed that Trinidad and Tobago would in due course accept the CCJ as that country’s final court of appeal, replacing the Privy Council .
There is a general consensus among members of the legal fraternity that the Norman Manley Law School is long overdue for a curriculum upgrade. Donovan Walker, president, Jamaican Bar Association (JamBar), said the current curriculum is a good basis for training lawyers, but noted that the legal landscape in Jamaica has changed dramatically and the law school needs to keep apace with these changes.
The new term of the Home Circuit Court in Kingston, the Easter Session, opened this morning with stakeholders lamenting the old problem of juror participation.
Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn disclosed that 1,000 summonses were sent out to the police to serve on potential jurors for this new term. However, she said only 135 of the summonses were served. The DPP said of that number, only 76 turned up for court today.
Leader of the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Andrew Holness said it is important for Jamaicans to understand that his pursuit of an appeal in the Senate resignation letters saga was in the public’s interest as it was necessary for the higher court to determine the legal position.
Opposition spokeswoman on information and culture Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange has called on the Government to use the opportunity of the visit of US President Barack Obama to renew bilateral efforts to have Jamaica’s first National Hero Marcus Garvey pardoned of charges which led to his US imprisonment in 1923, and as an impetus to clear his name at home in Jamaica.
Rupert Lewis makes a similar plea, giving a brief overview of the circumstances which led to Garvey’s conviction and imprisonment.
THE average Barbadian is not aware that there are alternatives to solving a dispute outside of the law courts. So says Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite, who said in some jurisdictions the ideal situation would see only 20 per cent of the cases set down for hearing actually reaching the Court system, while using other mechanisms such as mediation or arbitration to deal with these matters.
Suriname’s Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Lackin has apologised to his Guyanese counterpart Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, for an attempt by police to arrest a staff member on the premises of the Guyana Embassy in Suriname’s capital, Paramaribo, earlier this month.
The Cayman Islands judiciary and its legal fraternities last week hosted the highest ranking member of the British judiciary ever to visit the territory in that capacity. A justice of the Supreme Court of England and Wales, Lord Mance, was there as keynote speaker for last Tuesday’s fifth annual Judicial Distinguished Guest Lecture.
The Bahamas Press Club (BPC) says it is urging the Perry Christie government to enact legislation dealing with freedom of information. The BPC said that while it is encouraged by statements attributed to Prime Minister Christie that his administration is ready to bring the legislation to Parliament, it hopes the “country will not wait another 12 months for its introduction and implementation.
A lawyer representing the family of Selwyn “Blues” Knight is disappointed that more than three weeks after his killing by an off-duty policeman a report has not been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
The Geneva Infant Feeding Association which is based in Switzerland is urging the Jamaican Government to pay women for all 12 weeks of maternity leave to which they argue they are entitled to under the Maternity Leave Act of 1979. This recommendation among others, were made at a meeting of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. President general of the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union, Senator Kavan Gayle endorsed these recommendations from the international body.
Trinidad and Tobago Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Rowley announced that has instructed his lawyers to initiate lawsuits against several radio talk show hosts. The lawsuits are related to comments made surrounding the statements made in Parliament by Tobago East MP Vernalla Alleyne – Toppin with regards to Rowley’s parentage. The comments spurred outrage from citizens across the country.
Dana Seetahal will be honoured by the Law School and the Humprey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota on Monday, April 12. The Humphrey Forum will include a short programme to honour her memory and to explore the larger context in which her tragic death took place.
It is a fact that some young delinquents go on to become adult offenders. The conversation we need to have is how can this be prevented and how we can successfully turn young and adult offenders into functioning, right-thinking members of society.
Reparations to repair the damages of enslavement has been a persistent demand within the multifaceted Black Freedom Struggle in the U.S. The movement ebbs and flows, being intense at certain moments in our history and subdued at others. Despite the fact that there is a “State of Emergency” in America’s “dark ghettos,” the pride associated with the election of the first African American President has not made this the most fertile period for the Reparations Movement .However, two events have potentially provided the impetus for a new moment of intense interest and advocacy for reparations in the months and years ahead.
Beyond our shores
Authorities in Puerto Rico have charged a 28-year-old man in the US territory’s first federal sextortion case involving adults. Mario Lebron Caceres is accused of threatening to post sexually explicit images of a 33-year-old woman on a pornographic website, and of sharing them with her co-workers if she didn’t have sex with him.
In a landmark ruling, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Matthew Cooper held that Ellanora Baidoo could serve her elusive husband with divorce proceedings via a Facebook message. Baidoo’s attorney believed that it was a necessary law. Baidoo could only reach her husband by phone or on Facebook and had tried other standard methods to reach him but to no avail.