Justice Belle Recuses Himself From Legal Case

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Government Lawyers File Application

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
July 14, 2009 (CUOPM)

Resident High Court Judge, His Lordship Mr. Justice Francis Belle has recused himself from sitting on, hearing and or determining in the matter brought by opposition People’s Action Movement (PAM) Member of Parliament, the Hon. Shawn Richards against the Constituency Boundaries Commission and the Attorney General.

A Notice of Application for the Recusal Order filed by lawyers for the Attorney General and the Constituency Boundaries Commission on Tuesday cited several grounds for the recusal.


That the learned Judge was angry and emotional and spoke in an emotional and angry tone.  The Judge’s language, anger and demeanor in the High Court, showed that he is not able, consciously or unconsciously, of dealing fairly and impartially with the applications and claims involving the Applicants and other Respondents in the consolidated Claims., and that he is affected by what he perceives or believes to be the Respondents’ violation of the without notice order dated the 2nd day of July 2009.

That the Learned Judge relied on material which was not properly  before the Court, and which in view of section 16 (a) of the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act Cap 167, could not have been properly before the Court. This notwithstanding, the Judge relied on this material and accused the Honourable Prime Minister of the Federation of being a liar or misled. The Prime Minister was not and is not a party to any of the applications or claims.

That the material relied on by the Judge were words spoken by the Honourable Prime Minister during the proceedings of the National Assembly. In doing so, the Judge considered extraneous matters, and more specifically material made expressly inadmissible by the provisions of 16 (a) of the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act Cap 167, and formed a hostile and prejudicial view of the Prime Minister and thereby the Respondents.

That the language of the learned Judge, and his exchanges with Counsel, Dr. H Browne, Mr. Sylvester Anthony, and his direct description of the Prime Minister as a liar or being misled establish that the Judge has prejudged the issues and has already formed a hostile and adverse view of the Respondents and the issues raised in application for contempt and the other issues against the Respondents and the Honourable Member Mr. Liburd.

That the Learned Judge appears determined  to hear, and insists on hearing, the application to commit  the Honourable Attorney General and the Honourable Cedric Liburd for contempt for (i)  an alleged failure on the part of the Attorney General  to give or the giving of advice by the Attorney General, (ii)  the presence of the Attorney General during proceedings of the National Assembly, and (iii) for words allegedly spoken by the Honourable Member of the Assembly Mr. Liburd in spite of and notwithstanding the  absolute immunity granted by the provisions of section 3 of the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act Cap 167 and section 45 of the Constitution.

That the Judge insists on hearing the application for contempt notwithstanding that the Court has no jurisdiction to consider, inquire into, determine or find  that anything said or done during or in proceedings of the National Assembly constitutes a contempt as alleged or at all. The application for contempt  is barred and the jurisdiction of the High Court is ousted by

1.1  The provisions of section 3 of the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act Cap 167, and

1.2  The provisions of section 45 of the Constitution

2. Section 3 of Chapter 167 and section 45 of the Constitution extend to all civil and criminal proceedings including contempt of court which are in the nature of criminal or quasi criminal proceedings, and are not limited to defamation proceedings.

That the Learned Judge appears determined to hear the application to commit the Honourable Attorney General and the Honourable Cedric Liburd for contempt notwithstanding the fact that no permission has been applied for, and the Speaker of the National Assembly has not granted permission for the use in evidence of any thing said or done in the Assembly. The Judge is precluded by the provisions of section 16 (a) of the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act Cap 167 from considering  anything said or done in the National Assembly, and from relying on the content of any minutes or proceedings unless the Speaker has given permission. No permission has been granted by the Speaker.

The Learned Judge appears determined to hear the application to commit the Honourable Attorney General and the Honourable Cedric Liburd for contempt notwithstanding the extraordinary vagueness and width of the without notice order dated the 2nd day of July 2009 and more specifically the fact that there is nothing in the language of the order  to indicate that the order extended or applied or could extend or apply  to the constitutional obligation imposed on the Prime Minister under section 50 (3) of the Constitution or the internal proceedings of the National Assembly.

That the Learned Judge demanded that Dr H. Browne produce an affidavit stating what he said or may have said to the Honourable Prime Minister otherwise he will not be allowed to appear on behalf of the Applicants.

That the Judge summarily dismissed the Applicants’ application to discharge the without notice order without giving any reasons.

The Constituency Boundaries Commission and the Attorney General were represented by Dr. Henry Browne, Sylvester Anthony, Arud Gossai. Absent was Senior Counsel, Mr. Anthony Astaphan.

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