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Feb 27, 2002

Lawyer says Meerabux will appeal

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Blackman then went on to dismiss the two claims by Meerabux that he was neither notified of the council’s decision or the charges against him. The judge found that based on correspondence between the parties, Mr. Meerabux had been fully aware of the details of the case against him and had ample time to respond. But it was on the last application that Justice Blackman found sympathy for the applicant. This was Meerabux’s contention that the tribunal’s decision to hold the hearings out of public view, was contrary to natural justice. Blackman pulled no punches when he referred to the Council’s decision to operate en camera as “sanctimonious humbug”. But despite such caustic condemnation, the Supreme Court Justice ruled that the flawed decision was procedural rather than fundamental. In the end, he decided that since the failure to make the hearings public would not have changed the outcome of the tribunal’s findings, the breach was not sufficient to overthrow the council’s decision. Anderson told News 5 his client will appeal the decision.

Kirk Anderson

“Although the view may be taken that we decided that the decision of the tribunal was reasonable, having regard to the evidence, we feel that if that tribunal hearing had been held in public, the evidence may very well would have different. In other words, there are certain things at times which people will say when they are not subjected to public scrutiny, which they would not say when they are being subjected to public scrutiny.”

Janelle Chanona

“So your client will be willing to take it as far as the Privy Council?”

Kirk Anderson

“From discussions that I have had with him I believed that he is certainly willing to do so. He’s fighting…and we must understand it’s not just for him, it’s for other justices of the Supreme Court in the future as well as for him. And not only justices of the Supreme Court, Director of Public Prosecutions, they have to be removed in the same way. So it’s going to affect a number of people.”

But as far as the Government of Belize is concerned, justice has been done.

Elson Kaseke

“The court has made the correct decision. There was ample evidence to show that he was involved in cases of misbehaviour, so I feel good, but I’m not surprised.”

Janelle Chanona

“So as far as the Attorney General is concerned, this case is finished, it’s over?”

Elson Kaseke

“Unless they appeal. We will be very willing to defend the action in the Court of Appeal, even if they go to the Privy Council. Because we think that the decision that he be removed from office was correct.”

But while the findings of the Belize Advisory Council were used to remove Meerabux from the bench, two lawyers who were also implicated in the wrongdoing, Nicholas Dujon and Gian Ghandi, continue to practice law and remain members in good standing of the Belize Bar Association. Despite the findings of the Belize Advisory Council, the Solicitor General admits that to date there are no plans in the works to punish the two attorneys, who conspired with the fallen justice to subvert the rule of law.

Janelle Chanona

“During the tribunal it was also found that the testimonies of Mr. Gian Ghandi and Attorney Nicholas Dujon were also voided, or they were not to be believed. What’s the next step as far as pursuing them?”

Elson Kaseke

“Well I cannot say that they will be pursued as such, but the tribunal made some findings that they were tampering with the judgement by some of the people who you mention. I do not know what the Bar Association intends to do in the respect of such people. The tribunal found that there were some instances of untruthfulness on behalf of the people. Again, I do not know what course the Bar Association intend to take in respect of the people.”

Attorneys for the Government included Solicitor General Elson Kaseke, deputy Minnet Hafiz, Denys Barrow and Derek Courtenay. Former justice Meerabux was not present in the courtroom today.

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