Bain says rights group did not write to him about expert evidence

BY PAUL HENRY Coordinator - Crime/Court Desk

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

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PROFESSOR Brendan Bain testified yesterday that he was warned by two colleague doctors, prior to him giving evidence in a Belize court, of the consequences of participating in the case that had challenged the constitutionality of the buggery law there.


Bain, who gave the evidence under cross-examination from Queen's Counsel Hugh Small, testified about the "pressures" he faced from rights groups and his colleagues after he gave evidence in 2012 and said that University of the West Indies (UWI) Vice-Chancellor Nigel Harris had tried to pacify the fallout.


Bain said, too, that Harris had asked him to reach out to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, and was asked to inform them that he did not mean to hurt them when he gave evidence.


Bain testified that one of Harris' concerns was that funding could be stopped for the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training Network (CHART) programme if the tension continued.


Bain testified, however, that he did not reach out to the community because he had called a representative of the Health Resources and Services Administration, an arm of the US Department of Health and Human Services that funded CHART, and was satisfied that funding of the programme would continue.


He testified further that he decided against reaching out to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community because they did not write to him expressing a problem. He said it would have been inappropriate had he done so.


Bain's testimony in the Supreme Court came on a day that saw the court deciding against extending the injunction that was preventing the UWI from terminating his service as director of CHART. The termination became effective on May 20, 2014.


Bain is suing the UWI for its decision to terminate his services as CHART director. The decision came from the fallout over Bain giving evidence in a Belize court which irked gay rights and other lobby groups, which reportedly pressured the university to sack him.


Yesterday, Bain testified that he met with doctors, John Walters and Ian McKnight, while in Guyana in May 2012 to discuss their concerns about information that he would be giving evidence in the case in Belize.


He said the doctors asked if he considered the consequences of him appearing in the case. Bain said he told the men that he would consider what they had said.


He said he again met with McKnight after he returned to Jamaica.


"I got the impression that he [McKnight] was trying to negotiate me out of participating in the [case]," Bain told the court.


He said he also met with Dr Peter Figueroa, who had also expressed concern about his intent to give evidence in the Belize case. He said he confirmed to Figueroa that he intended to give evidence.


Bain, however, said that he gave evidence as an expert, based on an order from the court, and not on behalf of anyone.


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