Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart
BU has come across seemingly incontrovertible evidence that warrants both of your immediate investigation. The evidence involves Mr Justice Olson Alleyne. Evidence suggests that Mr Justice Alleyne continues to practice law under the business name of “Olson Alleyne Legal”, despite his elevation to the Bench and has indulged in the practice of law during his tenure on the Bench, even up to the present day. We are satisfied that as little as 14 days ago, counsel received correspondence from Olson Alleyne Legal signed by another lawyer on behalf of Mr Olson Alleyne. If proved, this constitutes gross and dismissible misconduct and we refer you to section 84 of the Constitution, to be easily found online.
This is a matter of the gravest possible national importance. It requires investigation and explanation forthwith. BU, out of fairness and to permit you to conduct an immediate investigation, will refrain for the present from publishing the evidence. You are encouraged to contact us should you wish to avail yourself of this evidence and we will make arrangements to have it delivered to you. We await your expeditious response. It would be a great mistake to test our resolve on this one.
If there is no interest shown in this matter by officialdom we will interpret this to mean you have no problem with BU pursuing this matter in the public space of the Internet.
Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite
A BU blog Compensation Fund: Another Screw-up By the Barbados Bar Association highlighted another in a list of indiscretions by the Barbados Bar Association (BA). The big regret is that the traditional media refuses to honour its obligation to expose this club to the glare of the public. For years the who is who in the legal fraternity shuffle in and out of the President’s position all for the glory of achieving silk or the token of notoriety it offers. BU relishes the opportunity to ask Andrew Pilgrim QC what he accomplished during his tenure as BA president.
What is really irksome has been the lack of transparency and disclosure regarding lawyers who have had complaints lodged against them by the public. BU’s Plantation Deeds among many come to mind. It is obvious that the BA as a self regulating body is woefully inadequate – by its track record - to deal with the mounting concerns of the public regarding those bad apples in the legal barrel. Surely the time has come, if we want to be solution oriented, to change the governance structure as it relates to the legal profession. The Disciplinary Committee of the BA has done nothing to assuage the concerns of the public. The BA as represented in the Act has failed to regulate on a simple matter like who qualifies to be issued practicing certificates and what fee to receive from lawyers.
Barry Gale QC, President of the BA
BU has been able to access the audited financial report of the Bar Association (BA) relative to the Compensation Fund. BU notes that the fund holds in excess of $2 million. The authority for the Fund is to be found at Part VIII of the Legal Professions Act Cap. 370A of the Laws of Barbados.
Briefly, the Act states:
The Fund is the property of the BA and must be paid into a separate bank account to the credit of the BA to be known as “the Attorneys-at-law Compensation Fund”.
Every attorney-at-law is required, when a Practicing Certificate is issued to him, to pay to the Registrar his/her annual contribution to the Fund, without which no Practicing Certificate will be issued.
“50. (1) Where it is proved to the satisfaction of the Bar Association that any person has sustained loss in consequence of dishonesty on the part of an attorney-at-law or any clerk or servant of an attorney-at-law in connection with that attorney-at-law’s practice as an attorney-at-law or in connection with any trust of which that attorney-at-law is a trustee, then, subject to the provisions of this section, the Association may, if it thinks fit, make a grant to that person out of the Fund for the purpose of relieving or mitigating that loss.”
A few points to ponder from the reading of the posted financials.
Marston Gibson, Chief Justice
In the interest of sharing all information received about any matters which BU has reported on, we have been advised and updated on the issue of the Parris v BLP and Nation and Barbados Advocate as follows:
Mr Hal Gollop QC filed an action for defamation against the Nation which pre-dates the Parris action. The law firm of Carrington and Sealy acts for the Nation and Mr Vernon Smith QC is acting for Mr Gollop.
The essence of the complaint is that on January 07, 2013, the Nation captured and published the photograph which is the subject of dispute. Reasonable conclusion, the Nation was the author and the holder of copyright of the photograph. The BLP subsequently used the photograph and caption in their campaign. Thus, Mr Gollop has also advanced a claim of conspiracy against the Nation and the BLP.
Marston Gibson, Chief Justice
Barbadians were treated recently to the news that the enigmatic Chairman of CLICO Holdings Barbados Leroy Parris who was deposed when the bottom fell out of the CLICO parent company in Trinidad has filed a legal action against the Nation, Barbados Advocate and Barbados Labour Party (BLP). Parris would not have made the top 200,000th popular person list in Barbados prior to his recent court action. Now that he has filed the action his position is likely to slide to 250,000th.
Posted in Barbados Labour Party, Barbados Lawyers, Barbados Media, Barbados News, Barbados Press, Blogging, Caribbean News, Justice
Tagged Barbados Advocate, George Payne, Leroy Parris, Nation Newspaper
Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite
The Attorney-General of Barbados is the primary legal advisor to the Government of Barbados – Wikipedia
Good luck to Barry Gale QC who defeated ‘pooch skinning’ Alair Shepherd for the position of President of the Barbados Bar Association (BA). Not sure if outgoing president Andrew Pilgrim was able to achieve anything of note except to attain the status of Queens Counsel which lawyers are willing to ‘die’ for it seems.
There was a time when individuals worked hard because there was a consciousness that it was the right thing to do. How ones legacy might be defined was an inevitable consequence. Truth be told in defence of today’s incumbents which see a level of mediocrity hitherto unknown, it may simply be a matter of (in)competence.
Former Attorney General David Simmons is highly regarded by the legal fraternity and the general public. BU however has always been halting in our praise for two reasons. When Simmons demitted the office of Chief Justice (under duress) the delivery of justice caused by the weight of a heavy case load and an inefficient Court Registry should have been the performance indicators which painted his legacy and NOT the quality of his decisions. It was insightful to read Barry Gale’s comments soon after assuming the office of President of the BA concerning the court system. In summary, a mess!
George Payne, member of parliament for St. Andrew
Edmund Hinkson, member of parliament for St. James North
News broke this week that Barbados Labour Party (BLP) member of parliament George Payne has filed a defamation action against fellow BLP member of parliament Edmund Hinkson. To say that the action is mind boggling is an understatement. BU continues to try all effort to procure the court filing.
Vernon Smith QC
BU read the Barbados Today article with interest which outlined Vernon Smith QC reaction to being characterised a delinquent Barbados Bar Association (BA) member. The BU family is reminded of the list which was circulated by the BA and posted to BU in a blog by Caswell Franklyn – Defaulting Lawyers.
BU has posited a view that the Legal Profession Act contravenes the Constitution of Barbados concerning lawyers who opt not to pay BA fees and is therefore a nullity ab initio. Vernon Smith’s view has also been discussed. Now that he has come public in his defense it provides the opportunity for the BU family to explore the matter further.
Vernon Smith is quoted in the article as follows:
Former Court Registrar, Justice Maureen Crane-Scott
Former President of the BA, Senator Wilfred Abrahams
Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union
Former Chief Justice, Sir David Simmons
Update: The Nation newspaper has issued a public apology to Sir David Seale and Caswell Franklyn in today’s edition. It turns out that it was our own Caswell who penned the Guest Column and NOT Sir David
In a recent blog BU investigated the issue of attorneys who opt not to be members of the Barbados Bar Association (“BA”) on the basis that the Legal Profession Act contravenes the Constitution of Barbados and is, as a result, a nullity ab initio.
The almost unanimous opinions expressed by BU’s legal eagles was that the Legal Profession Act would be found in law to be a nullity ab initio.
BU has received a letter from attorney-at-law Wilfred A. Abrahams to the President of the Barbados Bar Association dated April 12, 2003 in which he gives notice that the attorneys of the chambers of which he is head, Aegis Chambers, intend to object to appearing in court with any attorney who has not submitted themselves to the Legal Profession Act and, inter alia, accusing these dissenting attorneys of committing an illegal act by practicing law – See Letter sent by Abrahams to the Bar – part 1 and Part 2
Posted in Barbados Judiciary, Barbados Lawyers, Barbados News, Blogging, Justice, Law,Crime
Tagged Barbados Bar Association, David Seale, David Simmons, Maureen Crane-Scott, Wilfred Abrahams
Alair Shepherd QC
One does not have to read Tales from the Courts to know that the judicature is in shambles. One did not have to listen to Attorneys-at-law Sean Lewis and Naomi Rochford on Getting Down to Brasstacks today to appreciate how dysfunctional our court system has become. For those left in doubt, a senior lawyer skinning his botsy at a judge last week sealed it.
The 64k question being asked by many since the incident which has gone viral is what would have provoked a senior lawyer who wears silk to behave in such an undignified manner. BU has tried to make sense of the information hitting our inbox and here is what happened between The Hon. Madam Justice Sonia Richards and Attorney-at-law Alair Shepherd QC.
The case in question involved the Commissioner of Police and several police officers, consequently many lawyers attended court that fateful morning. BU understands the case was scheduled to be heard by Madam Justice Margaret Reifer, who had recused herself, therefore the matter was rescheduled for Justice Sonia Richards for 9.30AM.
Related Link: QC Showed Judge His Silk
Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Think Tank and Watchdog Group
Alair Shepherd QC
The behaviour of a Queens Counsel toward a female judge, in Barbados, is another manifestation of the disrespect being displayed toward our women. According to published reports, the Queens Counsel demonstrated his displeasure with the judge by lifting his robe, backing the judge bending over and inviting her to kiss a part of his anatomy.
This single act reveals that disrespect for our women is now rampant at all social and educational levels. We will remain in the forefront of calling for our women to be respected but there is a bigger picture emerging here. Our Caribbean societies have always elevated some professions beyond godlike status. The medical and legal professions have been the chief beneficiaries of such adulation.
While we have had the occasional professional problems with our doctors, we suggest that such incidents have been for from widespread. We can therefore, with some objectivity, concur that the medical professional has maintained high professional standards. However we are aware that some will suggest that unprofessional conduct within the medical professional is not usually made public.
Marston Gibson, Chief Justice (l) Andrew Pilgrim, President of Barbados Bar Association
BU has been provided with a copy of the letter dated April 4, 2013 by which the Chief Justice finally advised the new Queens Counsel that he had received the Letters Patent that the GG had executed and sent to the CJ some weeks previously, instructing that they be delivered. The GG had also officially informed the new Queens Counsel himself of their appointment, from which time they had the right to put the letters QC after their names. Do not expect Chief Justice Gibson to offer an explanation for the delay.
BU has also been provided with a legal opinion on the matter of mandatory membership of the Barbados Bar Association, on which it has been argued, in essence, that there is a requirement that attorneys who are certified to practice law in Barbados must also be members of the Barbados Bar Association. BU’s legal opinion states that, as such an Act breaches the Constitution, it is a nullity ab initio, as indeed is any law which breaches the Constitution. Otherwise, the Constitution, which requires a two third majority of the House to change it, would be held hostage to the much lower standard of a simple act of parliament, which requires merely a majority. This would compromise the rights of Bajans and infringe their liberties. Pursued, it could also potentially lead away from democracy to dictatorship.
Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union
Recently, I heard that the Bar association had published a list of attorneys-at-law who did not pay their dues to the association, as required by law. At first, I was a bit sceptical but all doubts have been removed when I saw a story in the Saturday Sun of April 6, 2013 to that effect.
Surprisingly, the list appeared in my Inbox: it contained the names of 75 lawyers. The whole affair piqued my interest, so I set about to find out the reason for the omission of so many lawyers. The reasons ranged from: conscientious objection, no longer practising, inadvertence to plain just being cheap. I have examined the case for the conscientious objectors, and quite frankly, I believe that by not paying their dues, they have shown utter disrespect for the law that they are sworn to uphold.