Grenadian Queen’s Counsel, Dr. Francis Alexis should not have represented the APNU/AFC Coalition’s supporter Eslyn David knowing of the likelihood that the case would end up at the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
This is according to former Attorney General Anil Nandlall who says the situation poses a serious conflict of interest.
Dr Alexis appeared in the Guyana Court of Appeal for the applicant in the case of Eslyn David v Chief Elections Officer and others
Nandlall, in a statement, has contended that Dr Alexis’ involvement in the case is “highly reprehensible and must be condemned”.
Dr Alexis, who is a former lecturer of law at the University of the West Indies and a former Attorney General of Grenada as well a a lawyer of over four decades, currently holds the position of Deputy Chairman of the Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission.
The Chairman of this body is ex officio the President of the Caribbean Court of Justice, Justice Adrian Saunders.
The stated mission of the Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission is to appoint Judges of the Caribbean Court of Justice.
The Guyana elections recount case is pending, on appeal, to the CCJ. Its hearing is scheduled to take place on July, 1, on Wednesday.
According to Nandlall, over the centuries that English Law has evolved, evolving with it, have been certain doctrines commonly called “conventions”.
With the passage of time, they have graduated to assimilate the force of law and form an integral part of the body corpus of English Law, Nandlall explained.
He outlined that these conventions supplement the law to protect institutions of the law, the legal system itself, the rule of law and cannons of fundamental justice.
Nandlall noted that when the British Legal System was supplanted in Her Majesty’s colonies so were those conventions, deeply ingrained. When these colonies were granted independence, some of these conventions were codified in the independent Constitutions of these territories.
However, those conventions that were not codified, still form part of the rule of law in these territories.
Nandlall pointed out that Guyana and the Caribbean are among those territories whose legal systems evolved in the manner just outlined.
“One of these conventions is that lawyers who sit on bodies that appoint Judges should not appear before those Judges. A logical corollary of this principle is that they should not make any public statement, adopt any posture or commit any acts which may be viewed as influencing, or intending to influence, litigation pending before Judges whom they have appointed or has a responsibility to appoint,” Nandlall argued.
“Dr Alexis, in my respectful view, has egregiously violated these principles,” Nandlall said.
Nandlall, a PPP/C Candidate, stated that not only does a conflict of interest exist in Dr Alexis’ appearance in the matter, but he has unwisely commented on the outcome of a live matter, which is also a clear breach of the sub judice rules.
The Grenadian lawyer recently commented extensively on the elections recount case in the State-owned Guyana Chronicle, saying that the PPP/C’s appeal at the CCJ has no real prospect of success.
“If Dr Alexis wishes to remain a respectable jurist, he must withdraw his remarks with an appropriately worded statement admitting this gross misadventure.
“Not only has he made a public statement but has expressed his legal opinion on how the case should be decided, exposing himself to the obvious accusation that he is attempting to prejudice the outcome of the proceedings,” Nandlall argued.
According to Nandlall, an ordinary citizen who violates the sub judice doctrine is likely to be hauled before the courts for contempt. “Dr Alexis is not an ordinary citizen, in this regard. He has done much worse,” he posited.