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Dec 7, 2017

New Evidence Reveals Franz Parke Accused of Personal and Professional Misconduct

Former Justice of Appeal Franz Parke has left a cloud of suspicion and scandal in the wake of his departure from the Court of Appeal, announced this week. The Jamaican-American attorney faced serious questions about his fitness to serve as a Judge on the Belize Court of Appeal, but it is concerns about his personal and professional conduct in the state of Florida between 1980 and the present that has dogged him. News Five has obtained a small portion of the hundreds of pages of evidence compiled in the civil case filed by Leader of the Opposition John Briceño, establishing very serious claims against the former jurist of which the Government claims it was not aware before a letter sent by Courtenay Coye LLP law firm to Solicitor General Nigel Hawke on November twenty-seventh. Two internal memos cite, in one instance, complaints from a Florida judge about Parke’s performance, accusing him of not preparing adequately or communicating with his clients, leading to extensive complaints.  Another questioned why he failed to appear in court or explain his whereabouts in a 2012 case, except that he had another matter closer to home. In terms of personal conduct, an internal memo from the then-State Attorney Janet Reno’s office reveals an arrest in 1980 for driving under the influence, to which he pleaded no contest and was fined and had his driving privileges suspended. More seriously, a heavily redacted report described an alleged incident of child abuse in 1989 which the complainant suggested that Parke beat a child with a belt out of frustration, because he was under pressure trying to study for the Florida Bar Exam. No criminal charges were filed as the complainant felt a talking-to would clear up the matter. Most incredible of all, we understand that the office of Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte was given disclosure of this information, which contradicts his public pronouncements that Parke is a fit and proper person to serve. We repeat part of his telephone interview with News Five given earlier this week.

 

Franz Parke

On the Phone: Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General [File: December 5th, 2017]

“I have no doubt that if Dean Barrow were to appoint Jesus Christ, the opposition and the bar association would have objected.  No matter who he appoints or tends to appoint they will object, so we just have to deal with that.  For example, Justice Parke, I didn’t see the need for him to resign.  I am disappointed that he did resign because he was doing his job, but he didn’t want to subject himself to any cross examination on frivolous accusations.  He could have easily batted those down but he didn’t want to subject himself to that.  So whoever we appoint next, not only will have to be qualified like Justice Parke, but would have to be tough to stand up to some attacks from the P.U.P. and the bar association.”

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