Attorneys representing the Law Association yesterday described the sanctions imposed by the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) 1998 as unconstitutional. While making legal submissions, Senior Counsel Fyard Hosein, who is representing the association, said sanctions imposed for the late filing of documents in Section 26 of the CPR affect the constitutional right of access to justice. Hosein said the sanctions should only be imposed at the discretion of a judge who considers each case on its facts. He described sections of the CPR as inconsistent and arbitrary.
Hosein was making submissions in a constitutional motion suit before Justice Vasheist Kokaram in the Port-of-Spain High Court brought by former Finance Minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira. Parallel to Nunez-Tesheira's motion is a medical negligence suit for more than $20 million which was initiated after her husband Russell's death on April 13, 2004. Nunez-Tesheira contends that her husband's death was due to medical negligence at the Gulf View Medical Centre. Her lawsuit also lists urologist Dr Lester Goetz and anaesthesiologist Dr Crisen Jendra Roopchand. All three have denied thxe allegations. Russell Tesheira, 53, was vice-president of sales and agencies administration at Clico.
The constitution motion was brought after Nunez-Tesheira's lawsuit was subjected to the sanctions contained in the CPR.. Nunez-Tesheira faces sanctions for twice failing to file expert medical evidence within the allotted time frame ordered by Kokaram. The office of the Attorney General was first listed as a defendant in the matter, while the association joined the matter as an interested party. Nunez-Tesheira's legal team includes Douglas Mendes, SC, Simon de la Bastide and Nyree Alphonso. Russell Martineau, SC and Gerard Ramdeen are representing the Attorney General in the constitutional action. Attorney Rishi Dass is also representing the association. The matter continues today.