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Jan 26, 2011

Special Sitting of Court hears cases from B.C.B. and former B.T.L. Chairman

Arguments in two appeal cases on the nationalization of Telemedia continued today. British Caribbean Bank and former BTL Chairman Dean Boyce filed suit against the Attorney General and the Minister of Public Utilities. The BC Bank and Boyce are challenging a July 2010 ruling by Justice Oswell Legall that government’s compulsory acquisition of BTL was constitutional. The appeal was heard by a special sitting and succeeds an application to the Caribbean Court of Justice by Senior Counsel Lois Young, on behalf of the Government of Belize, to deposit all proceeds from the sale of shares in Telemedia into separate accounts either at the Central Bank or another commercial bank. The former chairman is challenging the legitimacy of government’s takeover of the telecommunications company as a breach of the Constitution of Belize. The British Caribbean Bank was represented by Attorney Eamon Courtney while Boyce is being represented by senior counsel Godfrey Smith.

Godfrey Smith, Attorney for Dean Boyce

godfrey smith

“This is an appeal against a decision of Mr. Justice Legall delivered at the end of July last year essentially saying that the acquisition of Telemedia was constitutional.  This is an appeal against that decision [and] we are saying that the acquisition was unconstitutional for a number of reasons which are being argued before this court of appeal.”

Isani Cayetano

“The particular trial is scheduled to be concluded today.  Can you speak to us a bit on that?”

Godfrey Smith

“Well this really is an appeal that was scheduled to have been heard in October.  You may recall that in October two judges recused themselves essentially saying they could not sit on the case which presented a difficulty.  A special sitting had to be held which is this sitting in January and it began on Monday afternoon and we expect it will conclude this evening.”

Isani Cayetano

“Does it seem favorable at this point in terms of the arguments presented?”

Godfrey Smith

“I can’t comment on that except to say that we’re confident of the strength of our arguments but it’s entirely up to the court, adding only that this decision is hugely consequential because it will be a three member panel of the Court of Appeal deciding on the constitutionality of the acquisition of Telemedia.”

A judgment is not expected until a later date.

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