Friday, October 25, 2013

Appeal Court reserves judgment in Section 34 case

The Appeal Court on Thursday reserved its judgment in the Section 34 matter involving businessman Steve Ferguson, Ameer Edoo and three companies. They are challenging the the decision of the High Court with respect to the repeal of Section 34 of the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act 2011.

Justices Allan Mendonca, Peter Jamadar and Gregory Smith heard the matter over four days and then reserved a ruling to a date to be fixed.

On April 5, Justice Mira Dean-Armorer rejected motions filed by Ferguson, Edoo and the companies in which they argued that the repeal of Section 34 violated their constitutional rights.

The controversial legislation, which Parliament repealed with retroactive effect, would have allowed freedom for persons charged with or pending trial for certain offences for 10 years or more.

As soon as Section 34 was proclaimed Ferguson and Edoo, as well of many others persons, filed applications before the High Court in order to have charges dismissed. 

They did it for the brief period that Section 34 was on on the law books. But Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar recalled Parliament and legislators repealed the law, which was previously passed unanimously in Parliament.

The attorney for the Office of the Attorney General told the Appeal Court that Parliament was entitled to repeal the law. QC 
Lord David Pannick said that was not a breach of anyone's constitutional rights.

British QC Edward Fitzgerald, representing the appellants, told the court the passing of the legislation gave his clients a legitimate expectation that the courts would dismiss charges against them. He said the repeal of Section 34 took away that right.

"There is no question that separation of powers had been breached. Legitimate expectation should be respected. They were given the rights of liberty and with that right being taken away it was an injustice to them," Fitzgerald argued.
The lawyers submitted that under Section 34(2) he said, it was unnecessary for the appellants to even make an application to have the charges dismissed.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai