BASSETERRE, St. Kitts- LAWYER Jonel Powell and Minister Lindsay Grant are expressing concern over a recent statement issued by the local Bar Association with regards to a matter the two are involved in that is before the court.
The matter concerns an alleged misappropriation of funds concerning the law firm the two are involved in and a client, along with a judgement and directive from the court.
Following the judgement handed down by the court on February 27 sending the matter to a tribunal, the Bar Association, though it said it could not comment on the matter since it is still in the court, noted that it “takes very seriously the adherence by members of the profession to our oath as Officers of the Court and to the Code of Ethics which governs the practice of law as set out in 87 paragraphs of Schedule. IV of the Legal Profession Act”.
According to the association: ”That Code includes the fundamental obligation to separate clients’ funds from personal monies of the Attorney-at- Law and to deal with clients’ monies strictly in accordance with the Code and any conditions on which the monies are held. Our clients place immense trust and confidence in us and for members of the legal profession, our duty to deal with client funds honorably is sacrosanct”.
In a joint statement, the Minister and Ambassador both indicated that they are “very concerned that this matter which is pending before the Court has been turned into a political football”.
The two lawyers said “It is being used by parties seeking political and other advantages. We have therefore given instructions to our Counsel to proceed with all immediate speed to determine this matter.”
“We are dissatisfied with the “Ruling” of the Court dated Thursday 27th February, 2020 which came subsequent to a judgement handed down by the Judge on 28th October, 2019, which said judgement is the subject of an appeal. At a Status Hearing on the said 27th February, 2020 the “Ruling” referred to, comprising of some 33 pages was given without any prior notice to us, and even then, without an opportunity for us to be heard before the “Ruling” was made. We urge the Bar Council not to rush to judgement in this matter, especially as we have not been given an opportunity to be heard. Anything less will be interfering with the course of justice and going against the fundamental principles of the rule of law and would be prejudicial to us.”
The judgement in the case Tanzania Tobing Tanzil v Lindsay F.P. Grant and Jonel Powell can be found on the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Courts website.