My turn

CJ seeks to stop civil suit against him

The country’s two most senior judicial and legal officials, Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson and Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite have filed a last-minute application in the High Court to prevent a civil suit against them from being heard.

The notice, which was lodged in the Supreme Court Registry today by attorney-at-law in the Attorney General’s Chambers Donna Brathwaite, QC comes on the eve of the start of hearing in the civil suit filed several months ago by Queen’s Counsel Vernon Smith, who is accusing the Chief Justice of denying him the right to work.

The Attorney General has also been named in the lawsuit, which arose out of the Chief Justice’s decision to prevent Smith from practising law in Barbadian courts because he had not paid his annual subscription to the Barbados Bar Association.

The lawyer claimed that Sir Marston effectively disbarred him without due process after Smith was prevented from acting on behalf of Branlee Consulting Incorporated on April 14, a company owned by former CLICO executive
Leroy Parris.

Smith is also seeking damages and is demanding that the Chief Justice gives his reasons in writing for refusing to hear him when he tried to represent his client.

But Donna Brathwaite is urging the court to strike out the claim and award the defendants costs “in any event.”

In outlining the grounds on which her clients are relying, she gave three reasons for stating that the case filed by Smith on May 14, 2015 was an abuse of process of the court.

Brathwaite submitted that an appeal against a decision or ruling made by a judge of the High Court ought to be made to the Court of Appeal; that the claimant has failed to show on what law or rules of the Supreme Court his claim is grounded, and that the Chief Justice is not a proper party to the proceedings.

Smith was served with legal papers today, notifying him that the application to strike out his case was set to be heard on January 27, 2016 starting at 9.30 am. Smith is represented by Queens’ Counsel Edmund King and Hal Gollop.

Asked if his client’s case would now be put on hold until this new matter was determined, Gollop said he would wait for the judge’s decision tomorrow.

In a recent interview with Barbados TODAY, Smith said he had tried, and was willing to pay the subscriptions, but minus the value added tax (VAT) because, he said, the Bar Association was not qualified to collect the tax.

Since then he has said he would let the court make a ruling on whether it is required to pay VAT to the Bar Association.

6 Responses to My turn

  1. Dianne Barker
    Dianne Barker September 16, 2015 at 1:07 am

    Don’t award diddly squat to him. He knows the rules and refuses to play by them. If he cannot stand the heat get out of the kitchen, he does not deserve anything.

  2. Tony Webster September 16, 2015 at 5:47 am

    Dianne Barker, you shoulda been a lawyer, or a Q.C., or even a judge: you are so right! The goodly gentleman…could just have paid unto Caesar that which is due to Caesar, it and recouped it by adding-it into his bill for “miscellaneous costs”…to his client…the said Branlee Consulting…whichin’ …should be able to find such a trifling amount …with the greatest of ease!

    Case closed.

  3. jrsmith September 16, 2015 at 5:53 am

    This is a group of ,so call educated, highly qualified people , fighting amound themselves, dealing with the public they always support each other, so many things all back fire as like this, bajans leave them alone , let them fight to death.

  4. carson c cadogan September 16, 2015 at 6:49 am

    You all are as usual missing the point.

    This is about being forced to make payments which might well not be Legal. This is about being forced to abandon one’s career without due process.

    This vat paying which is being demanded by the Bar Assoc. has been a contentious issue for a long time, and needs to be resolved once and for all. The best place for this to be done is in a Court of Law.

    The Judge’s ruling will be accepted one way or the other and this matter will be put to rest.

  5. Tony Webster September 16, 2015 at 8:29 am

    Carson, Carson, Carson…OH Lawd…please bless Carson…the Light of The World…and such a soothing, comforting unguent unto the wounds , scrapes, escapades, ventures, adventures, bruises, rocks assaulting the feet, and even worse unspeakable things…of this wonderful government. Hallelujah!.

  6. Tony Waterman September 16, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    @carson c cadogan!!!! I am not surprised that so many people like you are being led lon this one, ike the children and the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Perhaps it is because of the old Colonial habit of looking up to peoplle who we think are smarter than us, having QC behind his name will do that.
    The gug (Smith) although he is a QC, does not seem to know the SIMPLE difference between, levying a Fee, and Collecting a fee. the Bar Association is just doing what EVERY person/Entity that Charges for Taxable items as listed by BRA. Has to do, COLLECT THE TAX, and pass it on to BRA, Mr.Smith QC, is Barking up the wrong Tree, his fight about the Payment of VAT is with The BRA and the Ministry of Finance.
    The CJ is NOT one of my Favourites, but on this one he has done NOTHING wrong, and this case is just another reason why the Judiciary is so screwed up, what about the Guy on remand at Dodds for the last 5 years, when will his case come to Court ??
    and why has Smith’s Infantile claims been pushed to the fore front?? This is an abuse of the system, at the expense of the average Bajan, and is TOTALLY WRONG.
    What happens if God forbid it, he wins, can all the other Attorneys then refuse to pay The VAT???


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