Strike out Gafoor claims
By Jada Loutoo Friday, June 22 2012
LEAD attorney for the Integrity Commission has sought to convince a High Court judge to strike out certain parts of the evidence submitted by suspended Integrity Commission deputy chairman Gladys Gafoor, saying they were irrelevant and scandalous.
Deborah Peake, SC, who leads a legal team for the commission, yesterday submitted that the offending paragraphs contained in affidavits filed by Gafoor in support of her judicial review application be withdrawn.
Gafoor is also calling on the court to quash a decision taken by the commission last December 19 forcing her to recuse herself from a matter involving former Attorney General John Jeremie.
Jeremie had written to the commission asking for Gafoor and another commissioner—chartered accountant Seunarine Jokhoo—to be removed from all consideration of his matter, her application stated. The other members of the commission are Ken Gordon (chairman), Prof Ann-Marie Bissessar and Neil Rolingson.
Peake yesterday submitted that certain paragraphs were not relevant to the pleadings filed by Gafoor in support of her public law claim.
She said only those aspects of evidence relevant to Gafoor’s pleadings should be allowed to remain on the record.
“It (the offending paragraphs) does not advance the claimant’s case,” she said as she called on the judge to sanitise the evidence to conform with what the deputy chairman is seeking to have the court review.
Justice Vasheist Kokaram is presiding over the two public law claims filed by Gafoor against the Integrity Commission and a decision by the President to set up a tribunal, under former Chief Justice Michael de La Bastide.
In countering the application to have the evidence struck from the record, Gafoor’s attorney Clive Phelps argued that a pleaded case in judicial review proceedings was entirely different from an ordinary civil suit.
He said the grounds filed in such an application formed the litigant’s pleaded case and were fulfilled by the affidavits submitted in support.
“It is entirely proper to use that concept in judicial review proceedings,” he said.
Phelps insisted that the evidence complained of was relevant to the issues his client was seeking to have the court review, and ought not to be struck from the record.
“It is admissible,” he maintained. He said the court can be guided by what was contained in the affidavits filed to draw inferences on the probability and plausibility of what had been said.
“The streams of justice must stay clear,” Phelps argued.
Kokaram had last week ordered that documents filed in the proceedings can be made public as they do not breach the Integrity Act laws on disclosure of declarations. He will on June 27, rule on the Integrity Commission’s application at which time he will also give further directions in the judicial review claim.
At the start of yesterday’s hearing, Phelps sought to complain about media reports on statements made by Attorney General (AG) Anand Ramlogan as they related to allegations made by Gafoor in a Newsday report, published on Tuesday last.
He alleged that Ramlogan “crossed the line” and called on the judge to issue a similar warning as he had done on Wednesday as he called on Gafoor to exercise restrain when commenting on her lawsuits.
After reading the offending article, Kokaram pointed out to Phelps that the AG’s comments were made in reference to what Gafoor had previously said and noted that in his remarks Ramlogan said he will not be commenting further on issues surrounding the case.
“The dust is settling,” Kokaram told Phelps.