It is public knowledge that President Bharrat Jagdeo has filed a libel suit against Mr. Freddie Kissoon, Mr. Adam Harris and National Media and Publishing Company Limited, the publishers of the Kaieteur News, in respect of an article written by Mr. Kissoon and published in the Kaieteur News newspaper. This case was filed on the 12th July, 2010, and the trial is scheduled to commence on the 19th August, 2011.
Mr. Kissoon has published two articles in the Kaieteur News on the 28th July, 2011 and 29th July, 2011, about and concerning the case. The gravamen of his two articles, as I understand them, is that his case has been fixed for trial too early and as a result, he is now apprehensive that he may not receive a fair trial.
The general tenor of the two articles leads one to the inescapable conclusion that the author is suggesting that administration of justice has been improperly influenced to bring about an early hearing of his case and such improper influence may extend to the decision of the case. Indeed, these are most grave allegations. They assume even greater magnitude when they are made by a party involved in the litigation.
Maybe Mr. Kissoon is unaware that during the course of the hearing of the injunction proceedings before the Honourable Chief Justice, his lawyers had requested that if the injunction is made interlocutory, then an early date should be fixed for a trial of the action.
At this point in time, the requisite pleadings were already filed by both sides. The Chief Justice granted this request and as a result, I was ordered to file a Request for Hearing within two days after the injunction was made interlocutory. This, I did. Then an appeal was launched against the Chief Justice’s decision which made the injunction interlocutory. Under the relevant Rules of Court, a case cannot go to trial unless all interlocutory matters are concluded. Therefore, this appeal must be determined before the trial of the matter can commence. The appeal in such matters lies to the Full Court of the High Court.
Again, Mr. Kissoon seems unaware that one of his lawyers, again, requested of the Chief Justice to constitute the Full Court to hear and determine the appeal so that the trial of the case can commence.
Again, the Chief Justice granted their request and the appeal was heard and determined, thereby paving the way for the trial to commence. Out of an abundance of caution, I took the opportunity of confirming the aforesaid information with the Chief Justice before I penned this missive. Therefore, Mr. Kissoon’s fears, apprehensions and anxieties are completely misplaced.
Mr. Kissoon is treading on dangerous waters. I take this opportunity to inform him that should he persist with similar publications contempt of court proceedings is an option to which I will be forced to resort.
Mohabir Anil Nandlall, MP
Attorney-at-Law for His Excellency,
President Bharrat Jagdeo