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JOHNSON BANNED AND FNM GAGGED: Judge’s decision given after recent altercation involving vice chairman

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune News Editor

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

FREE National Movement Secretary General Serfent Rolle said a Supreme Court judge yesterday banned FNM vice chairman Richard Johnson from attending the party’s meetings or visiting its headquarters or precincts until any further court order.

He said that Justice Deborah Fraser also ordered FNM officials to refrain from personal attacks on each other or any other member of the party in the press, social media or public platform before the substantive matter –– a lawsuit Mr Johnson brought against the party –– is dealt with.

The court’s order temporarily permits what Mr Johnson had challenged and what FNM leaders wanted all along: to bar him from meetings.

“Failure to comply with any of the court’s aforementioned directions will result in the defaulting/breaching party’s court pleadings being struck out and judgement entered accordingly with costs being awarded to the innocent party,” Mr Rolle said.

“Without question, it is the FNM’s intention to adhere strictly to the aforementioned orders of the court. We, therefore, admonish all FNM offices, council members and its general membership to likewise govern themselves accordingly.”

Mr Johnson sued the FNM after executives unanimously barred him from council meetings. He seeks $500,000 in damages, claiming that neither leader Michael Pintard nor chairman Dr Duane Sands had the authority to suspend his membership rights and reassign his vice-chair duties. He wants $250,000 for “loss and unlawful interference” of his membership, $250,000 for “mental distress concerning the matter”, and interest on damages.

Earlier this year, Justice Fraser instituted an injunction preventing the party’s leaders from barring him from council meetings until she had addressed the substantive matter. She also ordered them not to personally attack each other or other FNM members in public until she had ruled on the lawsuit.

However, after Mr Johnson was involved in a physical altercation outside the FNM’s headquarters on November 30, he publicly linked the attack to FNM leaders without evidence, potentially breaching the judge’s order.

Among other things, former Deputy Prime Minister Desmond Bannister highlighted the attack on Mr Johnson while arguing that Mr Pintard should host a convention to settle leadership issues in the party.

 Police have yet to say whether anyone has been arrested in connection with the alleged attack on Mr Johnson.

Comments

ExposedU2C 3 months, 2 weeks ago

This court ruling wreaks of abusive interference in our political system. 'Ms.' Fraser needs to be reminded in no uncertain terms that she is a creature of the judiciary by appointment and not by direct election by the Bahamian people. It seems Chief Justice Winder is making it known he is quite content to preside over a kangaroo court partial to the political interests of the government of the day.

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