Attorney General, Basil Williams, SC, need not apologise to Justice Franklyn Holder, because his behaviour in the court room was not considered contemptuous.
This is according to President David Granger, who on Wednesday posited that Williams’ “was not being contemptuous so in that regard there cannot be any justifiable call for an apology because his behaviour was not in contempt of court.”
Moreover, Granger noted that he was satisfied with the explanation given by Williams, highlighting that if Justice Holder felt that Williams’ behaviour towards him was contemptuous, he knows what actions he should take.
“He did not cite the Attorney General for contempt and, as things stand, I feel that the explanation given to me by the Minister of Legal Affairs adequately deals with the complaint which I received” said the President.
On March 23, 2017, Justice Holder had complained to the Chancellor of the Judiciary, Yonette Cummings-Edwards, that during the hearing of the Carvil Duncan case, he abruptly walked out of the courtroom as a result of statements made by the Attorney General.
Justice Holder quoted the AG as saying, “I could say what I want to say and however I want to say it, I have always been like that… The last magistrate who (told me what to do) was later found dead.”
In his complaint, Justice Holder said that he felt disrespected by the Attorney General’s behaviour, and he has since called for an apology to be given to him in open court before proceeding further with the case.
However, the State’s chief legal advisor is holding out that he is not to be blamed for causing the High Court judge to walk out of the courtroom. He has also insisted that his comment was not a threat.
Justice Holder recently recused himself from presiding over the case.
In announcing his recusal Justice Holder had said that “these statements of Mr Williams that I have recounted taken individually may be perceived as insolent behaviour and not necessarily contempt of Court. However, when considered collectively and within the time frame that they were made, these statements prima facie constitute contemptuous behaviour on his part.”
His announcement came on the heels of Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo requesting that he [Holder] recuse himself from the Carvil Duncan case in light of the brewing tension with Williams.