By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
KEOD Smith’s accusation of bias and questioning of a judge’s impartiality to preside over a case resulted in him being found guilty of contempt “for scandalising the court” yesterday.
Mr Smith, the former attorney for controversial fashion designer Peter Nygard and previous Progressive Liberal Party member of parliament, must now appear before Justice Rhonda Bain next month to explain to the court why he should not be imprisoned.
Justice Bain, in her written ruling, said that even though Mr Smith had withdrawn his application for the court to recuse itself, “the court is constrained to deal with the allegations of bias contained in the affidavits of the sixth respondent (Smith).”
“The affidavits filed are public documents and even though the sixth respondent in his seventh affidavit has requested the fifth and six affidavits to be expunged and removed from the records, these documents still form a part of the record of these proceedings and are available for inspection by members of the public,” Justice Bain noted.
“There was no reason given for the withdrawal of the recusal applications and counsel in making the application for the withdrawal, did not request that the fifth, sixth and seventh affidavits of the sixth respondent be expunged from the record.”
“The court holds that Keod Smith should be cited for contempt for scandalising the court in the fifth, sixth and seventh affidavits. The court directs that a Notice be issued to Keod Smith to show cause why he should not be committed to Her Majesty’s Prison for his contempt.”
Justice Bain further noted that lawyer Derek Ryan, who was present in court yesterday, “cannot escape liability” for the “scandalising” affidavits filed by his client which undermined the integrity of the judge and the judicial system.
She said he, too, must appear on January 6 to show why he should be spared imprisonment having found him complicit for aiding and abetting Mr Smith.
Mr Smith, who was not present for yesterday’s brief proceedings, had filed a series of affidavits in January claiming that Justice Bain should recuse herself from a judicial review proceeding as she had made a series of decisions based on her affiliation with the Free National Movement (FNM). Ten months later Mr Smith attempted to withdraw the applications for the recusal of Justice Bain, notwithstanding that in a section of an affidavit filed in January, entitled “Justice Bain, who is she?” Mr Smith argued the judge once worked under former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, that she was appointed to a high-ranking position in the Attorney General’s Office because of her ties to the FNM and that her two sons were fathered by what he claims to be a close friend and advisor of Mr Ingraham.
Mr Smith claimed the fact that Justice Bain made several rulings in favour of Fred Smith, QC, who in the past was affiliated with the FNM, “can only be explained as coming about as a result of her bias”.
The proceedings concern a judicial review application filed by the Coalition to Protect Clifton Bay, which is challenging an application by Mr Nygard to further develop his imposing Mayan-themed development in Lyford Cay and gain a lease for Crown land reclaimed from the sea without official approval.
The coalition claims that over the last 30 years, Nygard Cay has nearly doubled in size as a result of construction works undertaken without the appropriate permits and in a manner that caused significant damage to the surrounding environment of Clifton Bay.
Koed Smith has been further ordered to pay full costs to the applicants of the judicial review for the withdrawal of his recusal applications.