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Manning backs down on challenge to Parliament
Former prime minister Patrick Manning yesterday withdrew two lawsuits challenging a decision of Parliament’s Privileges Committee. During a status hearing in the Port-of-Spain High Court, attorneys representing Manning, the San Fernando East MP, informed Justice Carol Gobin of their intention to discontinue the judicial review proceedings.
Gobin did not give the attorneys in the matter any order as to how the legal costs would be distributed. Manning first filed the action after he was suspended from Parliament by a vote of 25 for and nine against on May 16 last year. He had earlier been found guilty by the committee of contempt of Parliament, which stemmed from statements made on November 19, 2010, during the debate on the Interception of Communications legislation.
Manning’s comments concerned Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s private residence in Phillipine, south Trinidad. In the lawsuit, Manning sought leave from the court to challenge Parliament’s decision to suspend him. He also challenged the committee’s decision to refuse his request to have his lawyer question witnesses who were before the committee.
Speaker Wade Mark was listed as a party, together with the office of the Attorney General. Manning recently returned from the United States, where he spent time recovering from a stroke he suffered at his home in south Trinidad on January 24. Manning has not attended Parliament since his stroke.
Mark was represented by attorneys Deborah Peake, SC, and Rikki Harnanan, while Senior Counsel Russell Martineau and Dana Seetahal led the State’s legal team. Manning’s lawyers included Douglas Mendes, SC, John Jeremie, SC, Stuart Young and Kerwyn Garcia.
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