Frank Butt ac­cuses Car­bon­ear coun­cil of bias, un­demo­cratic con­duct in court ap­pli­ca­tion

Mat­ter set to re­turn to St. John’s court­room Jan. 18

The Compass - - Front page - BY ANDREW ROBIN­SON editor@cb­n­com­

The for­mer mayor of Car­bon­ear is ac­cus­ing those re­spon­si­ble for his re­moval from coun­cil last month of act­ing un­demo­crat­i­cally and with per­ceived or ac­tual bias.

That’s ac­cord­ing to a 31page ap­pli­ca­tion Butt’s lawyer, John Babb, filed in the Supreme Court of New­found­land and Labrador. The doc­u­ment, dated Dec. 21, 2017, out­lines the case Babb is pre­pared to make in ap­peal­ing coun­cil’s res­o­lu­tion passed Dec. 12 to va­cate his client’s seat.

Butt was present in the St. John’s court­house last Wed­nes­day. Lawyer Kyle Rees, ap­pear­ing be­fore Jus­tice Carl Thomp­son as an agent for Babb, re­quested a Jan. 18 court date to set dead­lines for sub­mit­ting doc­u­ments rel­e­vant to the ap­peal process.

Butt de­clined to com­ment on the case when ap­proached by me­dia fol­low­ing Wed­nes­day’s pro­ceed­ings. Fam­ily ac­com­pa­nied him in court.

Ac­cord­ing to the ap­pli­ca­tion, Butt is dis­put­ing the town’s han­dling of the anony­mous let­ter, which was re­ceived in mail by the town Sept. 11, 2017 but not ad­dressed to coun­cil.

The for­mer mayor is ac­cused of breach­ing con­flict of in­ter­est pro­vi­sions un­der the Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties Act for in­tro­duc­ing and vot­ing on a mo­tion in 2014 to de­mol­ish a build­ing lo­cated near a gas sta­tion he owns on Wa­ter Street. It’s al­leged there was mon­e­tary gain to be made for Butt in hav­ing the build­ing torn down. The build­ing at 234 Wa­ter Street was sub­se­quently sold through a town auc­tion in 2015 and torn down shortly there­after.

Butt ar­gues the town failed him pro­ce­du­rally by re­fus­ing to re­lease doc­u­ments he felt were nec­es­sary to ad­e­quately de­fend him­self with the aid of a lawyer.

Ac­cord­ing to the ap­pli­ca­tion, the for­mer mayor also con­tends the town may have re­lied on bi­ased ad­vice from its solic­i­tor, not­ing the lawyer in ques­tion had a pro­fes­sional hand in at least six trans­ac­tions for the prop­erty be­tween 1998 and 2015.

“The (Town of Car­bon­ear) con­ducted it­self un­demo­crat­i­cally, con­trary to the prin­ci­ples of Nat­u­ral Jus­tice and without trans­parency, with an ac­tual or rea­son­ably per­ceived bias on its part and re­sult­ing in a de­nial of Nat­u­ral Jus­tice and/or his rights pur­suant to the Con­sti­tu­tion,” reads the ap­pli­ca­tion.

The court ap­pli­ca­tion also ac­cuses the town of fail­ing to ac­knowl­edge it was “act­ing as a quasi-ju­di­cial tri­bunal” that pro­ceeded “with def­er­ence and/ or con­sid­er­a­tion to the rule of law, con­duct, pro­ce­dural and sub­stan­tive rights” such a tri­bunal would en­tail.

The doc­u­ment takes the town to task on the ab­sence of a pro­fes­sional opin­ion re­gard­ing ap­praised prop­erty val­ues for the rel­e­vant prop­er­ties en­tan­gled in this case. It also in­di­cates the town failed to take into con­sid­er­a­tion the pro­tracted na­ture of its deal­ings with the prop­erty of 234 Wa­ter Street, which had al­ready been the sub­ject of a de­mo­li­tion or­der for years by 2014.

“There is no ev­i­dence that de­mo­li­tion of the sub­ject build­ing would con­sti­tute a mon­e­tary in­ter­est as de­fined (in the Act) … af­fect­ing or po­ten­tially af­fect­ing (Butt’s) fi­nan­cial po­si­tion or worth,” states the court ap­pli­ca­tion.

The Town of Car­bon­ear has re­tained St. John’s lawyer Ian Wal­lace to rep­re­sent the mu­nic­i­pal­ity. The town has not filed a de­fence.


Lawyer Kyle Rees chats with Frank Butt prior to court­room pro­ceed­ings in St. John’s Wed­nes­day morn­ing. Rees ap­peared as an agent for Butt’s lawyer, John Babb.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.