By AVA TURNQUEST
and NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporters
THE GOVERNMENT on Friday filed an urgent appeal against Justice Gregory Hilton's landmark ruling on Bahamas-born deportee Jean Rony Jean-Charles, making its case that the administration of good governance could be significantly affected.
Among the grounds for appeal, it was stated that Justice Hilton was wrong in law and principle, and overreached his Constitutional authority when he ordered the government to immediately issue a travel document for Mr Jean-Charles to allow him to return from Haiti to the Bahamas at the government's expense, and to grant him legal status no later than 60 days after his return.
Legal counsel has also requested Justice Hilton's order be stayed pending the outcome of their appeal.
In the certificate of urgency, obtained by The Tribune, Kenny Thompson, Assistant Counsel in the Attorney General’s office states: "The appeal involves the interpretation of Constitutional provisions and the Immigration Act. Further this appeal has far reaching implications and is a matter of national importance to the Government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and to the country as a whole and a speedy resolution of this matter will provide clarity in the area of Immigration Law."
Mr Thompson estimated the hearing would take three days.
Justice Hilton ruled that Mr Jean-Charles' rights under Article 19(1), (2) and (3) and Article 25 (1) of the Constitution have been breached, and ordered the government to pay Mr Jean-Charles for the breach "in such amount as to be determined" after hearing submissions by counsel.
In his 39-page ruling, he found that Mr Jean-Charles was "unlawfully expelled" from the Bahamas on November 24, 2017, after having been unlawfully detained from September 17, 2017 to November 24, 2017, in breach of his right guaranteed under Article 25(1) of the Constitution.
The government's notice of appeal motion, stated the learned judge erred in relying on third-party evidence, that of Mr Jean-Charles' sister, to support a constitutional claim; and further argued that the affidavit "fell away" once his habeas corpus application was dismissed.
A hearing date had not been set up to press time; however, The Tribune understands the matter may be scheduled for Monday afternoon.
On January 31, the Passport Office issued an emergency travel document valid for one year for Mr Jean-Charles, and lists the 35 year old as a Haitian national.
Attorney Fred Smith, QC, has protested his client's identification as a Haitian national in court, his receipt of the document was not to be regarded as an acceptance of that status.