MONC trial to be heard by a new judge says Astaphan

AnthonyAstaphanABasseterre, St. Kitts (CUOPM) — Attorney Anthony Astaphan is standing by the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Hon. Curtis Martin and the Attorney General, the Hon. Jason Hamilton to appeal the judgment of Justice Darshan Ramdhani, despite the Court of appeal sending the matter back to the High Court.

“It was the right strategy, the reason was very clear,” Senior Counsel Astaphan told WINNFM.

“[We] took the position that yes, we should in principle go to the trial, but that the judge had made some findings of law and in some cases fact, that would have shackled our ability at the trial unless we got a ruling or an understanding or an order from the Court of Appeal, either setting aside these rulings or indicating that these rulings would not be binding on a new judge,” he said.

“……And one of the things we had asked for, which we in fact got, was that the trial should be before new judge.”

Mr. Astaphan says it was common sense on the part of the government side to want a judge other than Justice Ramdhani for the full trial.

“I would never ever accuse a judge of bias, but he would have been heavily influenced by his own findings, because at the end he said that he made those rulings – although he should not have made them, but he made them – hoping that the parties could come to some form of resolution…so when I am an experienced lawyer they say…if I had to go straight to trial we were going to be shackled…by one, the sort of defense that we could put forward…and if there is going to be a conflict, the jurisdiction of the Court,” he explained.

“So once the Court of Appeal said it…should go back and there should be no conditions and…a new judge would not be bound by any of the findings, we agreed.”

Mr. Astaphan said if the new judge ruled similarly to Justice Ramdhani, his team would go back to the Court of Appeal, rejecting the suggestion that that would be a delay tactic.

“Some will say that, we will insist that we’re just trying to do what is right, because of the severity of the consequences of a Motion of No Confidence.”

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