Court of Appeal Ridicules Hamilton’s Affidavits As Hearsay

Deputy PAM Leader - Eugene Hamilton

Deputy PAM Leader – Eugene Hamilton

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
November 06, 2009 (CUOPM)

The Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal has ridiculed the affidavits of opposition People’s Action Movement (PAM) chief spokesman and former chairman, Mr. Chesley Hamilton.

Mr. Hamilton, a lawyer had submitted affidavits containing remarks by St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas at a political meeting in Lodge of his ruling Labour Party in the Court of First Instance to Her Ladyship, Justice Rita Joseph Olivetti, in the contempt of court trial of Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Legal affairs, Dr. the Hon. Dennis Merchant.

The Contempt of Court ruling against the Attorney General was brought by PAM’s lone Parliamentarian in the 15-member St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly, the Hon. Shawn K. Richards.

Dr. Merchant appealed the conviction and the Appeal Hearing was heard by Justices of Appeal, Her Ladyship Ola Mae Edwards, Mr. Justice Michael Gordon and Mr. Justice Davidson Baptiste.

Mr. Hamilton, in his affidavit during the trial in the Court of First Instance reported on remarks made by the Prime Minister at the Labour Party political meeting which he did not attend.

The three-judge panel seemed to be of the view that the Court must focus on evidence “not political statements” and the Court is concerned with evidence on oath, tested in a court of law, not political gossip or statements made on political platforms.

Justice Gordon responding to Hamilton’s affidavit said that anything can be said at a public meeting and that what was important to the Court was the Prime Minister’s evidence given in court under oath. Prime Minister Douglas was subpoenaed by Mr. Richards and appeared as his witness.

Prime Minister Douglas in his sworn testimony said that he was not advised by his Attorney General to lay the draft proclamation in Parliament. He said that he consulted with the Attorney General, who in turn said that he would have to seek advice himself.

PAM’s lawyers inferred that that meant that after seeking advice the Attorney General advised the Prime Minister.

However, Justice Gordon repeatedly asked Mr. Leslie Haynes, lawyer representing Hon. Shawn Richards, to produce the evidence that the Attorney General advised the Prime Minister and if the Attorney General did so to say what was the advice that was given.

In the face of Justice Gordon’s question, Mr. Haynes admitted he could not find a meaningful answer.

In an interview with WINNFM’s Toni Frederick after the hearing, Mr. Haynes admitted that “Shawn Richards had no direct evidence.”

Justice Ola Mae Edwards also seemed confused by Mr. Haynes responses to questions.

“I’m somewhat confused and puzzled myself,” she said. In referring to Shaw Richards’ argument that the Attorney General advised the Prime Minister to lay the draft proclamation, Justice Edwards repeatedly asked for the evidence but Mr. Haynes struggled to point to any.

“Isn’t this speculation?” Justice Ola Mae Edwards asked.

Judgment is pending in the case.

In August, Mr. Hamilton was rejected as witness without a questioned being asked by either side during the Boundaries Commission Case.

Mr. Hamilton had sworn in an affidavit purporting to give expert evidence on the laws of Trinidad and Tobago.

Mr. Astaphan said that Mr. Hamilton was not even an expert on Constitutional Law in St. Kitts and Nevis and objected to him presenting himself as an expert on the laws of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

Lead Counsel for Messrs Richards and Grant, the Hon. Mia Mottley agreed with the submission of Mr. Astaphan and withdrew Mr. Hamilton as a witness and the affidavit, without one question being posed to Mr. Hamilton.

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