AG refutes claims he threatened Judge in High Court – says legal actions will be taken
GINA Guyana, Friday, March 24, 2017
The Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams SC, today refuted claims which suggested that he threatened Justice Franklin Holder during a recent court session. The accusation were made by Former Attorney General Anil Nandlall, and also reported by various news outlets.
During a press conference at the National Communications Network (NCN), Minister Williams sought to clarify what transpired during the court proceedings involving Carvil Duncan at the High Court on March 23.
The Attorney General said that at no time did he threaten the judge and sees the accusation as an attack on his character and by extension the government.
He said that “…. There was no reason for the magistrate who is a school mate of mine to feel threatened by me, so to subsequently see that this allegation was made and posted on Anil Nandlall’s Facebook page, and is actually adopted by Kaieteur News and the Guyana Times who never called the Attorney General of this country, I think it’s a disrespectful act and an attack against this government…as I’ve said, time up, they will have to deal with the courts in this matter.”
Minister Williams explained that just as he wrapped up questioning Duncan’s former confidential secretary, the Judge was leaving the Bench; he enquired whether the answer of the witness had been recorded. The Judge then questioned him about whether he was the one in charge of the courtroom, to which he answered no.
Williams further reported, “The judge then said, ‘do you, Mr. Williams interpret what you are saying to mean that I deliberately did not record the yes answer that was given by the witness previously? … I take great umbrage of that…’ and I said, sir, I never intended anything like that. I said to him, that reminds me years ago of a similar allegation made by a magistrate that he interpreted my words to mean that he failed his exams…and I said since then I’ve always been very particular about what I say to the courts to be precise so that nothing like that could recur, and I said incidentally, that magistrate is dead now and I moved on and the Judge and I continued to address the issue at hand.”
The Attorney General said that the cross-examination was not going well for Nandlall and as a result, he was interrupting the court throughout the session. “Mr. Nandlall took over the courtroom for the entire proceeding in the morning, he was prompting the witness, making signs with his face, making sounds with his throat and repeatedly was warned by the Judge,” he related. He believes that Nandlall’s statement is an attempt to turn attention away from the actual case.
Minister Williams said that he intends to take legal action against the Former Attorney General, and those media outlets that carried the false accusation.
“They must be reckoned with for exemplary damages, but it’s time the newspapers and their reporters be professional. I don’t know whether they think that they could now indulge in alternative facts and fake news, but it is a culture that we have to guard against, that someone could make an accusation in court against an Attorney General and accompanied in court by three women lawyers, senior legal officers of this country, its reeks of crass disrespect against the women of this country, and we reject his contentions,” the AG said.
Minister Williams said he has already spoken to his legal representatives about taking action against Nandlall and the newspapers. A legal document is currently being drafted by his attorneys.
By: Synieka Thorne