Former Prime Minister and Opposition Leader of St. Kitts is facing another legal challenge of remaining a parliamentarian while he holds a Dominican diplomatic passport.
The Government of St. Kitts had already filed a legal challenge of his eligibility to continue as a Member of Parliament in the National Assembly and late last week another of the same nature was filed by Cuthbert Mills, a registered voter in Constituency #6.
When the matter appeared in court last week, Angela Sookoo-Bobb, one of the attorneys on Dr. Douglas’ legal team, explained to WINN FM that the “hearing was to deal with four different types of applications which were brought by Mr. Mills through his counsel.”
“The first argument took place on Mr. Mills’ application for his matter and the Attorney General’s challenge to be joined and heard together or one immediately after the other,” she stated. “We strenuously opposed that application on the basis that the constitution and the section of the constitution which allows a challenge to be made to a members qualification to remain in the house does not contemplate a voter being able to join or have a claim heard at the same time as the Attorney General. The second application which came up was an application for expert evidence. Both parties agreed that an expert on Dominican law should be called as a witness in the matter. Mr. Mills sort to put in a candidate which we indicated does not qualify as an expert on the matters which the court has to determine.”
She added that what the court has to determine is based on Dominica law of whether or not Dr. Douglas “is in foreign allegiance with Dominica.”
“And so the type of lawyer that is required is not allowed which practices in family law, mediation or has a Masters in Corporate Law, but what is required is an Attorney-at-Law that practices in Dominica who is ok with citizenship law, constitutional law, and immigration law,” she stated. “The third application which was brought by Mr. Mills was an application to have Dr. Douglas’ response to his claim, struck-out on the basis that it was filed approximately two days late. The reason for the late filing was because Dr. Douglas travelled overseas and based on where he was located, could not have the affidavit sworn in time. That was communicated to local counsel for Mr. Mills and Mr. Mills’ counsel agreed that Dr. Douglas’ application could’ve been filed late. However, they thereafter sought to have it struck-out, so we opposed it on basis that the legal profession continues to be a noble one, there had been no prejudice to the document being filed two days late and in any event, it was filed based on counsel for Mr. Mills indicating that they had no objections given the difficulties which Dr. Douglas was having.”
She explained further to WINN FM that “fourth application was an application for Dr. Douglas to produce the subject’s diplomatic passport for the purposes of inspection by Mr. Mills and we once again opposed that application, because in these matters, the law does not compel the defendant to produce any sort of evidence to assist a claimant in his case.”
“Mr. Mills, as well, we submitted, has absolutely no right to view Dr. Douglas’ travel documents or to be informed of where Dr. Douglas travels and when he travelled. After those applications were argued, the Court Justice Ward reserved his decision on those applications and Queens’ Counsel Delano Bart who is also a member of Dr. Douglas’ team, made a request for a formal application to be filed by us to have Mr. Mills’ entire claim struck-out and so we will be filing that claim on Monday morning and that application to have Mr. Mills entire claim struck-out will be heard on July 6th,” she stated.
Sookoo-Bobb said that Dr. Douglas’ team will apply to have Mills’ challenge struck out as it is nothing more that political nuisance.
Meanwhile she said the judge has not yet reached a decision in the challenge brought by the Government of St. Kitts.
“That matter is currently adjourned because there was some argument on whether or not we actually need an expert witness to come to court and present expert evidence,” she explained. “Our team continues to maintain that there must be an expert witness which presents what Dominican law is on foreign allegiance. The Attorney General’s team however, has taken the view that because it’s one Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, the High Court in St. Kitts, can take judicial notes of what the laws are of Dominica. That was argued on the 30th of May and Justice Ward has reserved his decision in relation to that.”
In the past, Dr. Douglas has not denied holding a Dominican diplomatic passport saying it was given to him out of courtesy.
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