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Section 34 repeal appeal case- Judges set to rule Wednesday
Three Appellate Judges are expected to deliver their judgment in the controversial appeal of two businessmen and an insurance company challenging the repeal of Section 34 of the Administration of Justice (Indictable Offences) Act on Wednesday. The judges—Allan Mendonca, Peter Jamadar and Gregory Smith—reserved their judgment in appeal in October last year, after hearing lengthy submissions from a battery of lawyers inclusive of four prominent British Queen’s Counsel.
Through the appeal, businessmen Steve Ferguson and Ameer Edoo and insurance company Maritime General are contesting the judgment of High Court Judge Mira Dean-Armorer who, in April last year, dismissed all eight grounds raised by them in their bid to challenge the constitutionality of the repeal.
Central to their appeal is their claim that the sudden repeal of the legislation almost two years ago, breached the constitutional principle of the separation of powers and their right to due process of law. They have also claimed that the repeal was unfair and was “disproportionate and unjust” because of its retrospective effect.
In response, the State has alleged that the repeal was within Parliament’s discretion and as such the court does not have the jurisdiction to reverse it. As a secondary issue in the constitutional motion lawsuit, the businessmen and company took issue with the intervention of Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard, SC, who wrote to Attorney General Anand Ramlogan advising the repeal, after he had received several applications under the legislation seeking an amnesty of the criminal charges.
Gaspard, through his attorney, has suggested that he was “duty bound” to intervene in the matter because of his important role in the administration of justice.