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first_img…Justice Holder recuses self from Carvil Duncan trialThe Carvil Duncan case will continue at the High Court, but in the hands of another judge as Justice Franklin Holder on Monday recused himself from the matter, indicating that his court is not the place for politics. The recusal comes days after Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo pushed for him to do so. However, Justice Holder insisted on Monday that he made his decision in the interest of the administration of justice.“I find that it will be prudent, judicious, and in the interest of the administration of justice that I recuse myself from this case. The decision to recuse myself is not recent and is not informed by any skewed, illogical and improper reasoning expressed by some in the press, but is one deeply rooted in my recognition and appreciation of what is required in the circumstances and in the interest of administration of justice,” the Judge stated. Embattled trade unionist Duncan had moved to the courts to challenge the tribunal set up to determine if he should be removed from several constitutional posts in light of charges, which were laid against him. However, the High Court proceedings were left at a standstill, on account of the Judge leaving the courtroom without adjourning the matter, following statements made by the prosecuting counsel, Attorney General Basil Williams.Addressing the court on Monday, Justice Holder stressed that it was unfortunate that AG Williams was not present in court, moments after State Counsel Judy Stuart announced that there was “no appearance” by the Attorney General. Stuart appeared on behalf of the respondent, along with Attorney Coleen Liverpool. Other involved parties – including Duncan; his attorney, former AG Anil Nandlall and other lawyers – were all present at Monday’s proceedings.Former Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil NandlallIn his official statement, Justice Holder reiterated that the AG’s behaviour was “egregious and disrespectful”, adding that all things considered, Williams’s statements on the face of it constitute “contemptuous behaviour on his part”.Notably, the Judge, while not citing Williams for contempt, expressed that under Section 12 (1) of the Contempt of Court Act, the AG could still be summoned to justify why he should not be held in contempt. Detailing why the case was not recalled in the weeks that passed, the Judge told the court that he allowed time for the AG to reflect on his conduct, but Williams “systematically” altered the narrative of the case, thereby politicising the matter.“…time was allowed to afford Mr Williams a further opportunity to do what was fitting and proper in the circumstances as a Senior Counsel and leader of the Bar. Instead, wearing another hat, he was moved during the weeks to systematically flip the script and to spin this in a manner, to the extent that it has now – in my respectful opinion – become politicised and irretrievably infected with the perception of bias,” Justice Holder noted on Monday.The Judge then cleared up the AG’s statement – “all morning Nandlall [was] disrespecting you and you have not done anything about it”, saying that this was not truly reflective of the proceedings at the time.On March 23, AG Williams, in questioning whether or not the Judge had accurately recorded the evidence of witness Diana Persaud, told him that “the last person who told [him] what [he] should not say was a magistrate and he is dead”.“I could say what I want to say and when I want to say it, I have always been like that,” the AG further added.Justice Holder, in what he described as a report and not a complaint to the Judiciary, said he walked out of the courtroom without adjourning the matter as a result of Williams’s behaviour, but the AG said numerous times that there was no need for an apology to be issued. In a letter dated May 4, 2017, which was addressed to the Attorney General, Prime Minister Nagamootoo raised concerns about having a fair trial in light of the incident.“I am a Respondent in the matter at caption and I am writing you in your capacity as my Attorney-at-Law herein. Due to an alleged incident between yourself and Justice Franklyn Holder in his Honour’s court on March 23, 2017 in the above-mentioned suit and His Honour’s subsequent petition to the Honourable Chancellor against the Attorney General on the issue of the alleged incident, I am of the opinion that neither the State, nor l, will receive fair hearing in the matter…,” the Prime Minister had stated.“In view of the foregoing, therefore, I authorise you to request that the Honourable Mr Justice Holder recuse himself from further hearing the matter,” he continued in the letter, which was forwarded to both the Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag) and Chief Justice (ag), as well as President David Granger.One day prior to that, Defence Attorney Nandlall had accused the Prime Minister and AG Williams of engaging in “juvenile antics”, saying that the letter of request to the Judge was a “plot” that in effect “undermines” the tenets of democracy.Nandlall had further highlighted that the principle of separation of powers may be under threat.Justice Holder has deferred the Carvil Duncan case to the Chief Justice (ag) and the Chancellor (ag).last_img read more