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Court starts hearing former senator's case against Holness

BY PAUL HENRY Co-ordinator — Crime/Court Desk henryp@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, July 22, 2014    

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THE Judicial Review Court yesterday started hearing arguments 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.

Both Williams and Holness were present in the case being presided over by Justices Courtney Day, Marva McDonald-Bishop and David Batts.

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, a day before their appointment, 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 yesterday that the resignation letter was brought into effect contrary to Williams' 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 argued that membership in the Senate cannot be terminated in the way it had been done in Williams' 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 constitutional scheme.

Holness' attorney, Georgia Gibson-Henlin, started responding to the arguments yesterday.

The case continues today.

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