Thursday, September 22, 2011

Judge agrees that Kissoon's Lawyer asking questions predicated upon false hypotheses

Court adjourned

ATTORNEY-AT-LAW Mr. Anil Nandlall yesterday accused his colleague on the other side of the President’s $10M libel case, Mr. Nigel Hughes of asking questions of the witness, Dr. Roger Luncheon which are predicated upon false hypotheses. Nandlall was referring to Hughes attempting to tender a document transferring property from GuySuCo but conveying the impression that the property was being transferred by the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL).
After realizing that the court and the witness were being misled by Mr. Hughes, Justice Brassington Reynolds, upon an application by Nandlall, expunged from the record all the answers and questions in relation to that document.

That took place as the proceedings continued in the High Court before Justice Brassington Reynolds, who is presiding. President Bharrat Jagdeo has sued Columnist Freddie Kissoon, Kaieteur News Publisher Glenn Lall and its Editor, Adam Harris, for libel.
Neither Lall nor Harris was in court yesterday but Kissoon, who is being represented by Hughes, in association with Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan and Mr. Christopher Ram, was. Hughes gave all assurances that the document he gave to Luncheon, from which he requested answers to questions he posed, was in no way intended to mislead the witness.

Cross-examination continued yesterday with Luncheon, who was questioned for a while on the contents of the controversial article written by Kissoon. The article ‘King Kong sent his goons to disrupt the conference’ is the basis for the case. Luncheon agreed with Hughes that Kissoon, as an academic lecturer at the University of Guyana (UG) was allowed to undertake research and come up with conclusions.
Hughes asked the witness a number of questions surrounding NICIL, including if he is a member of the Board of Directors, and whether he attended Board meetings.


Hughes suggested to Luncheon that the composition of the Board of Directors of the Bank of Guyana was mainly of one race and that the individuals serving on it did not have the appropriate qualifications, citing Pro-Chancellor of UG, Dr. Prem Misir as an example.
Hughes also asked the witness whether it was true or not that those on the Board had to first secure Cabinet’s approval before appointment. To this, Luncheon agreed, but he noted that he was unaware of all the persons who are serving on the Board. He said his recollection was very slim.
Hughes then proceeded to list the persons serving on the Board, attempting to prove that they were predominantly of East Indian descent with just two members being of another race.
Luncheon responded that he cannot recall the composition of the Board, except that the Governor of the Bank, Mr. Lawrence Williams, was a member of the Board.

Dr. Luncheon was also asked if he agreed that the Guyana Police Force (GPF) was made up of predominantly Blacks. Hughes then proceeded to ask about the current Assistant Commissioners of Police.
Nandlall objected and argued that, as a matter of law, Assistant Commissioners of Police are not appointed by the President and therefore that question is irrelevant. The Court upheld this objection.
According to Nandlall, the Police Service Commission (PSC) members are appointed by the President after going through a process outlined in the Constitution.
At one point in time there was a heated exchange between Hughes and Nandlall in relation to what the President is alleged to have said at a press conference.

Hughes stated that the President spoke about the evidence which the witness (Luncheon) intends to lead in re-examination, and that type of discussion can influence the outcome of the proceedings.
Nandlall countered that while he didn’t see the press conference, based upon what Hughes is alleging, there is no way that an impression can be conveyed that the plaintiff is attempting to influence the outcome of the case.
According to Nandlall, at its highest, the plaintiff is speaking to a type of evidence which would be elicited in re-examination and that there was nothing improper about that.
Nandlall contended that his client has never, and will never, attempt to influence the outcome of this case or any other case, and the complaint of Hughes is completely without basis.

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