…says contemplating suing media houses, Nandlall
– Nandlall stands by his statement, welcomes Court action
The Attorney General Basil Williams, SC, has rejected the allegations by his predecessor Anil Nandlall, MP, that he made death threats to High Court Magistrate Justice Franklin Holder during the ongoing case against Carvil Duncan and indicated his intention to sue not only Nandlall but two other media houses as well (Guyana Times and Kaieteur News).
Duncan had filed a legal challenge against the attempt to remove him from the Chairmanship of the Public Service Commission, from being a member of the Police Service Commission, and from serving on the Judicial Service Commission. Nandlall is the attorney representing him.
According to Williams, during a urgent press briefing held on Friday, the publication of his alleged threats to the Magistrate was “disrespectful” and an attack against government.
“They will have to deal with the courts in this matter. I have been collecting all of those allegations that were false and spurious against me, and they must be reckoned with for exemplary damages; because I know how to deal with these newspapers,” the AG outlined. “I’ve spoken to several counsel, and they are in the process of preparing letters to these newspapers, and they would indicate to them that it is a libel — a grievous libel — against the Attorney General by way of his office.”
Williams said that his words were taken out of context. He related that, at the time, he had cross-examined Duncan’s confidential secretary and afterwards had a discourse with Justice Holder, who he said was already leaving the bench.
“When the judge said that he was going to adjourn, I asked the judge if he could allow me one last question. My final question to her was if she (had) made (a) record of every mail she (had) received for Mr Duncan, and her answer was ‘No’.”
According to Williams he asked the judge, who had just adjourned, whether the witness’s last response to his cross-examination had been recorded by the court. “The judge, to my surprise, said, ‘Mr Williams, you are not in charge of my court’, and I said, ‘Not me, that could be said of Mr Nandlall, who has been trying to control your court’. And he then said to me, ‘Mr Williams, I interpret that to mean that I deliberately did not record the answer that you said was given by the witness’.”
Williams claimed to have then related an anecdote to Justice Holder about a magistrate who had, in the past, made a similar allegation against him. He said that that magistrate had incorrectly interpreted a statement he had made, and ever since that day, he has been careful with the words he uses in court.
“And (I said), ‘Incidentally, that magistrate is dead now,’ and I moved on; and the judge and I continued addressing issues. Mr Nandlall then jumped in…and thereupon, that’s when the judge left the bench,” the Attorney General related.
The AG was adamant that nothing prevented the judge from leaving the bench, and that “the judge doesn’t have to give a date before he leaves the bench.”
Meanwhile Nandlall, in a statement released on Friday, stood by his earlier publication and said that Williams did issue a death threat to Justice Holder.
“His reckless utterances to Justice Holder were witnessed by at least two State Counsel of the AG’s Chambers; Carvil Duncan; Duncan’s Confidential Secretary; Diana Persaud; Rajendra Jaigobin; Attorneys-at-Law; members of the press; two Marshals of the High Court; my Personal Assistant, Shivun Hutson; and a few persons who are unknown to me. These persons were all in the Court”, Nandlall contends.
Nandlall also issued a challenge to Williams to take the matter to Court, as he said he has no doubt he would be vindicated.
According to the former Attorney General “Mr Williams barefacedly denies that he (had) made the statements published by the press, which caused the Honourable Justice Holder to walk off the Bench, in disgust and possibly fear, without adjourning the matter.”