Court reserves judgment in case against Chief Justice

The Court of Appeal today reserved judgment in a case against the island’s top judge, filed by Queen’s Counsel Vernon Smith.

Smith, through his attorney Hal Gollop, QC, is asking the three member panel to overturn a lower court ruling that Smith did not have a case when he sought summary judgment against Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson in a matter that dates back to April 2015.

Instead, High Court Judge Pamela Beckles had ordered that the matter should go to trial.

Back then Sir Marston had refused to hear Smith when he appeared before the Chief Justice as attorney for Branlee Consulting Services – a private company owned by former executive chairman of CLICO Holdings Leroy Parris – on the grounds that Smith had not paid his annual subscription to the Barbados Bar Association.

Smith, on the other hand, contended that the Chief Justice had effectively barred him from practising law in Barbados’ courts, and had asked the Supreme Court for a summary judgment, including damages, against Sir Marston on the grounds that the Chief Justice had not complied with a number of civil court rules of procedure.

These included the failure to acknowledge service of court documents on him, failure to acknowledge his intention to file a defence and, upon being served, the failure to file a defence within the 28-day stipulated period.

After Beckles dismissed the case Smith turned to the Court of Appeal, and today, the three appellate justices heard submissions from Gollop and Solicitor General Donna Brathwaite, QC, who appeared on behalf of their boss and Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite, who was named as the second defendant, but who was not at today’s hearing.

In pressing his case, Gollop argued that the Chief Justice had not filed the required defence in the stipulated period of 28 days after May 29, 2015, the date he was served, suggesting that had he done so there would have been no reason to file a second one on September 16, the day of the hearing.

At the same time, Gollop also questioned a decision by the Attorney General to file an acknowledgment of receiving the court documents a week before the documents were even served.

In fact, Gollop pointed out that the Attorney General was not even the one facing the suit, but was included simply in consideration of the awarding of costs.

It was one of the major points over which the judges had lengthy exchanges with the Deputy Solicitor General, with one judge, Kaye Goodridge, describing the filing as a non-event.

However, the Deputy Solicitor General argued that court rules bar any appeal against any trial judge’s order, that Beckles had correctly found the case should go to trial and had given unconditional leave for the Chief Justice to defend his actions in a trial. All of these arguments were rejected by Gollop. The Court of Appeal judges did not indicate when they would issue a ruling.

15 Responses to Court reserves judgment in case against Chief Justice

  1. Maria Benn
    Maria Benn October 4, 2017 at 11:05 pm


  2. Tony Webster October 5, 2017 at 5:32 am

    A “non-event”; costing tax-payers millions ; and simple folks holding dey belly and either laughing at the inflated egos making poppets of themselves , or crying at wa$ted court time!
    The crunch however is really on us: voters and taxpayers…we simple folk who who instinctively know right from wrong; who carry the whole world on our backs. Yes, STILL carrying the whole world on our backs.

    Paris? It’s autumn…where the leaves are definitely turning brown..and starting to gently fall to the ground.

  3. Bajan boy October 5, 2017 at 6:14 am

    Will Gollop be paid millions from the public purse??

  4. Greengiant October 5, 2017 at 6:34 am

    Why do people always want to castigate Paris? Companies fold everyday, investors lose their money everyday, customers are left holding the bag after paying for services sometimes the very day before a company goes into administration.

    Why not blame the former government who saw all the signs, but were silent. Why not blame the several ministers who gave
    CLICO Insurance additional business to shore up their cash flow rather than follow the recommendations of the then supervisor of insurance.

    Branlee consultants was just a contractor conducting services for the company. Like anyone else, the owner of Branlee made sure his company was paid for the services rendered. Tell me which one of us in his position would not have done likewise. Paris did not steal from anyone, he made sure his company was paid for services rendered under contract to CLICO.

    However this is the same Paris and CLICO who bailed out the Barbados government and people in very economically challenging times in the 90’s. CLICO was there for Barbados, and Barbadians, sadly many who benefited personally by the high interest investments are now slaying the goose. So they too are like Paris, “simply getting what’s rightfully theirs under a contractual agreement”. The judgement in public court is the lowest judgement there can be, as you are guilty by opinion and not fact. Only those who have been victims can understand this.

  5. Patrick October 5, 2017 at 7:02 am

    Well said, a lot of Barbadians are jealous of Parris’ success.

    If you are rich as a white man, you did Well, if you are black, the stupid blacks say you steal to get there .
    Stop worry about who have money and try to get some for yourself.

    • straight talk October 5, 2017 at 3:52 pm

      Shut your a$$ yuh idiot you want big friends yuh cu@%t

  6. Darson October 5, 2017 at 8:18 am

    10 POINTS :: Patrick and Greengiant .
    100% i agree and much more can be said in his favour ,he dont deserve the bad mouthing and shunning he got .

  7. Sue Donym October 5, 2017 at 8:23 am

    A two and a half year old matter… and counting. I would have thought that there would be more of a furore if it were the case that Mr Smith did not have the appropriate qualification, not because of a failure to pay to fraternise.

    “Gollop also questioned a decision by the Attorney General to file an acknowledgment of receiving the court documents a week before the documents were even served.” Does this even need a comment?

    Occurring in the office the Chief Justice, ignoring the filing deadline or being ignorant of the requirement – whicever the case – this is no small matter.

    Seen together, one must wonder if it’s a matter of more garbage in the cart before the overburdened horse that will drag us back before the CCJ for another dose of national embarrassment.

  8. gsmiley October 5, 2017 at 8:53 am

    Patrick you have not a clue of what you speak.

  9. Alex Alleyne October 5, 2017 at 8:54 am

    On the PARRIS issue , Mac Fingall gave a speech sometime back and VOB use to run short bits of it . May be VOB should play it in it’s entirety for ALL BLACK BAJANS to hear .

  10. Sue Donym October 5, 2017 at 8:54 am

    Before this turns into a Parris worshipfest… Sometimes it’s difficult to recognise the difference between arm’s length transactions and shell corporations – some times! The term ‘fiduciary responsibility’ also seems relevant in the discussion on CLICO.

  11. Milli Watt October 5, 2017 at 9:28 am

    is Paris a LEPER……..not my words FRUNS words. In any event I am glad to see the wheels of justice are moving got a civil suit down there for the past 8 years with meaty issues can’t get a call but within 2 years this can make news.

  12. Ossie Moore October 5, 2017 at 10:32 am

    Lord mek peace ! Look like Westminister style laws in process or in other words British styled constitution that Barbadian laws are framed upon ! That is Nationalism at it’s best!

  13. gsmiley October 5, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    Patrick if you had any idea how clico was being run you would not even talk about parris’s success. what success what. and btw why was he the only success story at clico?
    you really need to think dude

  14. gsmiley October 5, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    ask tony marshall ask frank alleyne et al. you are just talking for talking sake. you have absolutely no idea


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