DOMINICA-JUSTICE- Dominica Bar Association condemns attacks on judiciary

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ROSEAU, Dominica, May 12, CMC – The Dominica Bar Association has condemned attacks being circulated through social media, on members of the judiciary.
In a release on Friday, the Association spoke out against the attacks targeting resident judge Justice Birnie Stephenson and President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Sir Dennis Byron.
Vice President of the Dominica Bar Association attorney Noelize Knight-Didier in an interview with Dominica Vibes said the release was issued because Justice Stephenson struck out Opposition Leader Lennox Linton’s defense on April 27 “as being unsustainable and without merit and an abuse of the process of court”.
“After this decision was given there was a very disgusting post being made about Justice Stephenson. I obviously cannot repeat the words but it was very disgusting, very uncalled for,” she said.
The Bar Association also “categorically” condemned statements made by Cabral Douglas about the President of the CCJ Sir Dennis Byron following his unsuccessful attempt to file a lawsuit against the Dominica government.
“This litigant is not a member of the Dominica Bar Association, although an attorney,” the release said.
Douglas petitioned the CCJ for US$ 3 million stemming from the forced cancellation of a concert which Jamaican artiste Tommy Lee was to headline in February 2014.
However the court ruled that Douglas failed to satisfy the requirement under Article 222 (a) of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas to show an arguable case that the Treaty intended that a right or benefit conferred on a Contracting Party enured to his benefit directly in their decision delivered on February 20, 2017.
In a statement released the same day as the judgement, Douglas said that CCJ’s decision is not only “laughable but it opens the floodgates for litigation, which clearly could not be the intention of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas”.
In her interview with Dominica Vibes, Dider said that when one receives a judgement which they do not like or is not in their favour, there are steps that can be taken such as appealing the matter, but the recourse is not to put down the justice system or “to hurl unwarranted attacks and defamatory remarks against the judges.”
She added that these types of personal attacks against members of the judiciary “never used to be done in our society. I don’t know what is going on, it is just not the way. And like we said in our statement, it is not that we are saying there should not be freedom of expression, but it is how you go about saying it”.
Dider noted that the Bar Association continues to stand with Justice Stephenson and will continue to defend her where unwarranted personal attacks are concerned.
“It is one of the mandates of the Bar Association- to protect and defend the judiciary, the bench and also to protect and defend members of the Bar Association, other colleagues,” she said.

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