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Court reserves judgement in Williams/Holness Senate case

Wednesday, July 23, 2014    

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THE Judicial Review Court yesterday reserved judgement in the case brought by Arthur Williams over his dismissal from the Senate by Opposition Leader Andrew Holness, using a resignation letter party members were made to sign in 2012 ahead of their appointment as senators.

The court — comprising of justices Courtney Day, Marva McDonald-Bishop and David Batts -- said the registrar would inform the attorneys involved of the date the judgement will be delivered. However, the court said that wouldn't be before the new court term, which begins in September.

Judgement was reserved following two days of arguments from lawyers for Williams, Holness and the attorney general, who is not a party to the matter but made submission to assist the court because the case concerns the Constitution.

Williams and a colleague senator, Christopher Tufton, were ousted from the Senate in November last year after the bitter leadership race for the Jamaica Labour Party that pitted Audley Shaw against Holness.

The resignation letters were signed by senators in January 2013, reportedly before their appointments, and were related to the party's position on Jamaica accepting the Caribbean Court of Justice as its final court of appeal.

Williams' lead attorney, Dr Lloyd Barnett, argued that the resignation letter was brought into effect contrary to Williams's consent, and in contravention of the Constitution. Barnett, who appears with Wentworth Charles, said Williams had expressed to Holness that he did not intend to resign.

The attorney also argued that membership in the Senate cannot be terminated in the way it had been done in Williams's case.

The argument was also made that the very fact of requesting these undated letters of resignation from all persons to be appointed as senators under nomination of the leader of the Opposition was contrary to Jamaica's Constitution.

Holness's attorney, Georgia Gibson-Henlin argued that Williams's rights had not been breached.

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