AG con­demns Nand­lall for ‘dis­re­spect­ing’ Ap­peal Court judges

-af­ter rul­ing on GECOM Chair­man

Stabroek News Sunday - - FRONT PAGE -

At­tor­ney Gen­eral Basil (AG) Wil­liams SC yes­ter­day called on the Guyana Bar As­so­ci­a­tion to con­demn com­ments di­rected at the ju­di­ciary by at­tor­ney Anil Nand­lall fol­low­ing the re­cent rul­ing in the chal­lenge to the ap­point­ment of the Chair­man of the Guyana Elec­tions Com­mis­sion (GECOM).

“As At­tor­ney Gen­eral, I fully sup­port ob­jec­tive com­ments on judge­ments handed down by the courts, but these must be mea­sured and re­spect­ful with­out seek­ing to scan­dalise the court by de­scrib­ing its de­ci­sion as po­lit­i­cal…and the judges who made the de­ci­sion as im­ma­ture. This amounts to per­sonal in­vec­tive and abuse of the judges,” Wil­liams said in a state­ment is­sued last evening.

Wil­liams made spe­cific ref­er­ence to com­ments re­ported in some sec­tions of the me­dia, in which Nand­lall ex­pressed dis­ap­point­ment at the rul­ing be­fore launch­ing what he char­ac­terised as an “at­tack” on the ju­di­ciary. Nand­lall sub­se­quently wrote a let­ter ex­pand­ing on the is­sue, which ap­peared in yes­ter­day’s edi­tion of this news­pa­per.

Nand­lall, the for­mer AG, made the con­tentious re­marks in an in­vited com­ment mo­ments af­ter the Court of Ap­peal dis­missed his chal­lenge to a rul­ing made ear­lier this year by Chief Jus­tice (ag) Rox­ane Ge­orge on Pres­i­dent David Granger’s uni­lat­eral ap­point­ment of re­tired judge James Pat­ter­son as GECOM Chair­man.

The Ap­peal Court last Thurs­day up­held the de­ci­sion.

Act­ing Chan­cel­lor Yonette Cum­mingsEd­wards and Jus­tices of Ap­peal Rishi Per­saud and Dawn Gre­gory heard the ap­peal.

In an al­most three-hour­long rul­ing, the court dis­agreed with ar­gu­ments that Pres­i­dent Granger’s re­sort to the con­sti­tu­tional pro­viso in Ar­ti­cle 161 (2) for the uni­lat­eral ap­point­ment of Pat­ter­son was un­law­fully in­voked and re­sul­tantly dis­missed the ap­peal brought by PPP Ex­ec­u­tive Sec­re­tary Zul­fikar Mustapha. Nand­lall, who rep­re­sented Mustapha, has since sig­nalled his in­ten­tion to take the mat­ter to the Caribbean Court of Ap­peal, Guyana’s fi­nal Ap­peal Court.

Wil­liams, in his press state­ment yes­ter­day, said that he was “af­fronted by the reck­less and churl­ish at­tack” on the ju­di­ciary by Nand­lall fol­low­ing his loss of the ap­peal case.

“…His crude as­sault on mem­bers of the ju­di­ciary—three of whom are women—must be roundly con­demned,” he said.

The AG stressed that the state­ments, when taken with his la­belling of the learned Jus­tice Ge­orgeWilt­shire’s rul­ing as “be­ing ad­ven­tur­ous” in the Court of Ap­peal, and de­scrib­ing two Bar­ba­dian Queen’s Coun­sel se­nior to him as “aliens,” aptly sum up Nand­lall’s dis­re­spect.

It was pointed out that it has not es­caped the AG’s at­ten­tion that over the years, Nand­lall has been given great lat­i­tude by the court and over time, has be­come dis­cour­te­ous and dis­re­spect­ful.

Wil­liams touched on a pre­vi­ous in­ci­dent be­tween him­self and High Court judge Franklin Holder, whom he was ac­cused of threat­en­ing.

“It was Mr Nand­lall who last year ran out of the High Court and falsely ac­cused the At­tor­ney Gen­eral of threat­en­ing to kill a sit­ting judge, which turned out to be com­pletely un­true, yet he was al­lowed to es­cape sanc­tion by the court,” the state­ment said.

The in­ci­dent re­port­edly oc­curred dur­ing Carvil Dun­can’s chal­lenge to his sus­pen­sion as Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion Chair­man. In the end, Jus­tice Holder re­cused him­self from hear­ing the mat­ter.

Ac­cord­ing to the AG’s state­ment, for a man who has been claim­ing that other peo­ple are los­ing cases, Nand­lall “seems to have suf­fered a com­plete melt­down on los­ing an­other ma­jor case. Per­haps this ex­pe­ri­ence in los­ing this case …should en­lighten him that in the prac­tice of law be­fore the courts you win some and you lose some.”

Wil­liams said that as the Head of the Bar, he con­demns the at­tor­ney’s be­hav­iour and ex­pressed hope that “the usual com­men­ta­tors and the Guyana Bar As­so­ci­a­tion will see it fit to do same.”

Basil Wil­liams

Anil Nand­lall

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