By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A LAWYER’S bid to appeal contempt proceedings against him concerning his accusations of bias on the part of a judge will now be heard in December.
Keod Smith and his lawyer, Elliot Lockhart, QC, appeared in the Court of Appeal yesterday for what was expected to be the substantive hearing on his appeal. That concerned decisions made by Justice Rhonda Bain last December and in March stemming from affidavits Mr Smith had filed.
The matter was adjourned to December 7 on the mutual agreement of counsel for the appellant and respondent, who blamed on the recent Hurricane Joaquin for hampering their ability to serve and respond to any submissions filed.
Fred Smith, QC, had also informed the court that he had filed an amended notice of application seeking for the Coalition to Protect Clifton Bay group being added as a party to the appeal in December.
Court of Appeal President Justice Anita Allen said that matter would be addressed at the substantive hearing.
Justice Bain is presiding over the judicial review filed by the Coalition which is challenging an application by Peter Nygard to further develop his Mayan-themed premises in Lyford Cay and gain a lease for Crown land reclaimed from the sea.
The group alleges that over the last 30 years, Nygard Cay has nearly doubled in size as a result of construction work undertaken without the appropriate permits and in a manner that had caused significant damage to the surrounding environment of Clifton Bay.
In January 2014, Keod Smith filed a series of affidavits claiming that Justice Bain should recuse herself from a judicial review proceeding as she had allegedly made a series of decisions based on her affiliation with the Free National Movement.
Ten months later, Keod Smith attempted to withdraw the applications for the recusal, notwithstanding a section of an affidavit filed in January, entitled “Justice Bain, who is she?” He alleged 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 a person he claimed is a close friend and advisor of Mr Ingraham.
Keod Smith also claimed that Justice Bain had made several rulings in favour of Fred Smith, who in the past had been affiliated with the FNM, and “can only be explained as coming about as a result of her bias”.
Justice Bain, in December, found Keod Smith guilty of contempt for the “scandalising” affidavits he had filed which undermined the integrity of the judge and the judicial system. His then lawyer, Derek Ryan, was also informed that he “cannot escape liability” for the affidavits.
At a contempt hearing a month later, Mr Lockhart appeared for Keod Smith and expressed his reservations about the proceedings and argued that the court had already arrived at a determination without first considering any evidence to refute the pair being guilty of contempt.
The judge ruled, after a hearing in March, that the court would proceed with notice against the attorney to show cause why he should not be committed to prison.
However, she stayed contempt proceedings pending the outcome of the former PLP MP’s application before the Court of Appeal. Keod Smith represented the Mount Moriah area from 2002 to 2007.