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Court Rejects Pm Recusal Appeal

Prime Minister Perry Christie.

Prime Minister Perry Christie.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

PRIME Minister Perry Christie suffered another legal defeat yesterday in his case against Supreme Court Justice Rhonda Bain when the Court of Appeal unanimously rejected his application for leave to begin appellate proceedings into the judge’s decision not to recuse herself from judicial review cases involving construction works at Nygard Cay.

As Minister for Crown Lands, Mr Christie is one of the respondents in the cases.

His attorneys argue that Justice Bain should have recused herself because she has an application before him in which she seeks to extend her tenure as a Supreme Court judge. She cannot be perceived as impartial because of this, the attorneys say.

Mr Christie has not indicated whether he intends to grant or deny Justice Bain’s application for extension. Judges routinely make such requests when they approach retirement age and they are usually granted as a matter of formality.

Wayne Munroe, the Prime Minister’s attorney in the case, said yesterday that he will seek instructions about whether to continue the appeal process.

Last night, Fred Smith QC, lead counsel for the Coalition to Save Clifton Bay in three of the judicial reviews, described the latest ruling against the Prime Minister as akin to “almost three strikes and you’re out”.

Attorneys for the Prime Minister had filed a motion in the Supreme Court on January 26 asking that Justice Bain recuse herself from the judicial review - or any other cases in which he is a party - on the basis that she is set to attain the legal age for retirement in April. She has an application for extension that would have to be authorised by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister in consultation with the leader of the Official Opposition.

On February 6, Justice Bain ruled there was “no merit” in the application to recuse her.

Among the relevant judicial review cases over which Justice Bain will preside is one launched by 103 of Peter Nygard’s Lyford Cay neighbours.

Robert Adams, a partner at Graham Thompson, represented that group yesterday. In advancing his argument, he relied in part on rulings from a case in Brunei that went before the Privy Council.

In that case, the Prince of Brunei wanted the High Court’s Chief Justice to recuse himself from the relevant proceeding on the ground of “apparent bias”, which is the idea that “circumstances gave rise to the impression that (he) may be influenced for or against a party for reasons that go beyond the legal or factual merits of a case”.

The Prince’s argument was that because the person with whom he had the legal dispute - the Sultan - had the power to grant the Chief Justice a two-year extension (within five months) and could also cause for his salary to be reduced, the Chief Justice should have recused himself.

In its response, the Privy Council said: “The Board has no hesitation in dismissing this submission. The fair-minded and informed observer must be taken to understand that the Chief Justice was a judge of unblemished reputation, nearing the end of a long and distinguished career in more than one jurisdiction, sworn to do right to all manner of people without fear or favour, affection or ill-will … Such an observer would dismiss as fanciful the notion that such a judge would break his judicial oath and jeopardise his reputation in order to curry favour with the Sultan and secure a relatively brief extension of his contract, or to avoid a reduction of his salary.”

Mr Adams argued yesterday that while the ruling in the Brunei case was not binding, it meant that the argument advanced in that case could no longer be seen as novel and therefore requiring further consideration at the appellate level.

In fact, he said the respondents’ case in the Justice Bain matter is stronger than the case for the respondents in the Brunei matter.

Unlike the Sultan, Mr Christie’s credibility is not directly an issue in Mr Nygard’s judicial review cases, and nor is there any potential liability for the Prime Minister as a result of the judicial review.

Mr Munroe countered yesterday that the Brunei case had “startling differences” to the one before the court and therefore should not be used as a basis to dismiss the Prime Minister’s application for leave.

Among other things, he pointed out, the appellant in the Brunei case not only wanted the Chief Justice to recuse himself from the matter, but for all other High Court judges to not hear the case as well.

Mr Smith said “we are very pleased that the trials are going to get back on track” as a result of yesterday’s ruling. He said Justice Bain had directed all parties to return on Monday morning and that the coalition was “anxious” to conclude the judicial reviews - four to be heard consecutively including that of the 103 neighbours - given Justice Bain’s “institutional knowledge of the cases over a number of years”.

Comments

realfreethinker 2 years, 3 months ago

The heat is on. now that the appeal's court has rejected him, it just leave for the bahamas to reject him. Ring the damn bell

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 years, 3 months ago

The fourth paragraph of the article above states:

Mr Christie has not indicated whether he intends to grant or deny Justice Bain’s application for extension. Judges routinely make such requests when they approach retirement age and they are usually granted as a matter of formality.

Perry Christie's inflated ego and grandiose sense of "rulership" of our country will more than likely cause him to deny Justice Bain's request for an extension of her term. But this though was and remains of no relevance or consequence to either Justice Bain personally or the matters heard or to be heard by her in this particular case. Justice Bain knows full-well that her only interest lies in applying the law, and she has every confidence in her ability to do so - nothing more.

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Reality_Check 2 years, 3 months ago

Perry Christie should never have made the initial application for Justice Bain to recuse herself in the first place. Presumably the application was made on advice from his legal counsel, Wayne Munroe QC. The initial application was fatally flawed at the outset in as much as it represented nothing more than an unwarranted assault on the independence of the judicial arm of our government by the executive branch of our government, the latter being headed by none other than the PM. God only knows how or why Wayne Munroe got the two letters QC after his name. But on second thought it was probably the same flawed way that Allyson Maynard-Gibson a/k/a the Wicked Witch got the same two letters after her name, i.e. through the exercise of very poor judgement and the injection of conflict of interest and cronyism into the nomination process. In the Wicked Witch's case, she actually had the gall to effectively nominate herself as a candidate to receive the QC designation! Simply unbelievable!! No doubt the Wicked Witch will do her utmost best to ensure that going forward Perry Christie is always afforded the courtesy of a "more accommodating" Justice of The Supreme Court to hear matters to which he is a party.

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TalRussell 2 years, 3 months ago

Comrades! The Bahamaland Legal Profession Act Section 15. (1):
. A counsel and attorney may apply to the
Attorney General for appointment as one of Her Majesty’s Counsel.

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Reality_Check 2 years, 3 months ago

You're flying your true colors now TalRussell. Obviously you're a PLP paid troll/operative close to the AG. That being the case, why don't you truthfully tell all of us what role the AG had in her official capacity as AG in the nomination process for a worthy lawyer of the highest standing to become a QC. Who is responsible for initially compiling and vetting the list of nominees for QC before it moves "upstairs" for determination? No doubt the cat has got your tongue now....and you can parlance your response with one untruthful reference after another to misquoted statute law on this matter.....because it won't matter a hill of beans at the end of the day...the truth is always the truth! Nothing more need be said on this matter in terms of your compensated mission as a PLP internet troll to purvey misinformation to The Tribune's website.

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TalRussell 2 years, 3 months ago

Comrade Reality_Check, I was simply responding with a fact, not an opinion or to rattle your skirted truth sensitive red cage.
I have long called for doing away with royal appointments and I mean all royal appointments.
Others higher up in the legal profession have for years publicly expressed their own concerns with the political interference in QC appoints.
Just you honk your car's horn the next time you pass Loretta cruising around Nassau Town - in Minni's old government issued car. That is the worst of royal interference in we nation's politics. The damn nerve of The Queen - right?

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 years, 3 months ago

As I've said time and time again in my postings to this website, you should simply ignore TalRussell and that other one known as Birdie something or other as they are nothing but paid trolls/operatives of certain officials within the PLP party charged with disseminating misinformation and creating confusion on The Tribune's website.

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TalRussell 2 years, 3 months ago

Comrade, Haven't you heard - Birdie is about flip over to becoming a card carrying member of Bran's Green Party?

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Alex_Charles 2 years, 3 months ago

I can't keep up with this. how long is this Nygard saga going to drag on for?

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Reality_Check 2 years, 3 months ago

Hang in there....the truth is virtuous and therefore always rises to the top.

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banker 2 years, 3 months ago

Now it makes sense to my why Munroe, the ethically-challenged Johnny-come-lately, ex-DNA got the nod over Frank Smith. He is Crisco Butt's attorney to shield the public from Crisco Butt selling himself to Nygard.

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TalRussell 2 years, 3 months ago

Comrade Banker, all take different paths to elective politics. Quite a number never take a seat or remain in the House, past a single House of Assembly term. Maybe, that's why it's known as - The Peoples House.
Regardless, come the 2017 General Election - the people will get it right - again. Don't they always do?

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realfreethinker 2 years, 3 months ago

No they don't. Therr definitely did not get it right in 2012,thus we are paying a heavy price today

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TalRussell 2 years, 3 months ago

Comrade RealFreeThinker, voting is Judgement Day and the voters always get it as right as is possible to get it - in advance 5 years out from voting day.
The 2017 General, will be decided by 18.3 per cent of voters - who will overlap between the votes of the committed PLP's, the Red Shirts and the Green Shirts.
I'm curious as to what voting group you're in?

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Seaman 2 years, 3 months ago

Bottom line.......What's the cost to the Bahamian people, or rather the public purse?

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Economist 2 years, 3 months ago

The amount of money that the government has wasted in all these cases is amazing. I have heard that they are told that they can't win and then spend the time dragging it out which cost more money when they finally lose.

I guess they don't care as it is our money they are wasting.

When they lose we the people have to pay much of the winning sides costs.

They must have spent 0ne or two million on cases they caused by not following the law.

A government that does not follow the law must expect corruption and high crime by its citizens though as they have set the example.

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TalRussell 2 years, 3 months ago

Comrades, I am not even sure I understand why the government and taxpayers are even involved in this court case?

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Tarzan 2 years, 3 months ago

Oh, let me see Tal. Could it be that Nygard owns the PLP? Oh, say it ain't so Joe.

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birdiestrachan 2 years, 3 months ago

Remember Mrs: Rubie Nottage . No body cared about her. What reason does the judge have for wantng to stay on.??

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Seaman 2 years, 3 months ago

Birdie........ Is the PM paying for this out of his deep pocket or are we the people paying? Should we pay for his bad judgement?

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sheeprunner12 2 years, 3 months ago

Not only should Nygard be fined/jailed for his abuse of our court system and manipulation of our politicians ........ he should be made to vacate our Crown land and denied any further residency permits to remain in our country ........... he is a black spot on the reputation of our country ............ Lock up Nygard, Brave and Perry in the same 6by10 FoxHill cell

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