No more evidence in Bain case

Saturday, January 24, 2015

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THE evidential phase of the trial of fired University of the West Indies (UWI) Professor Brendan Bain ended on Friday in the Supreme Court.

That phase of the two-week-old trial came to an end with the defendant, the UWI, closing its case after presenting its final two witnesses, Professor Rose-Marie Antoine, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the UWI, St Augustine campus in Barbados, and Ian McKnight of the group Caribbean Vulnerable Coalition Committee.

On Monday, the Attorney General's Chamber is to make its submission to the court on the constitution.

Tuesday will see UWI lead attorney Hugh Small, QC, making submissions, which is to be followed the day after by submissions from Bain's lead attorney Georgia Gibson-Henlin.

The UWI fired the noted health professional last May after alleging that his constituents had lost confidence in him after he gave expert evidence in a case in Belize where a gay man, Caleb Orozco, was challenging the constitutionality of the buggery laws of that country.

Bain is suing the UWI for breach of contract, breach of constitutional rights, and defamation over the university's decision to terminate his contract as director of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training Network (CHART) and the manner in which it had been handled.

Yesterday, Antoine, who was being cross-examined by Gibson-Henlin was critical of the expert evidence given by Bain in Belize, saying that it had shortcomings.

Questioned by Justice Lennox Campbell at a later point, Antoine testified that Bain's evidence gives the impression that anal sex in and of itself poses a public health risk.

She said that what causes the public health risk is the discrimination that causes men who have sex with men who are HIV positive to go "underground" instead of seeking treatment.

She said that Bain's evidence had deficiencies because he ignored the discrimination factor.

She said that the act of Bain giving evidence coupled with what he said, gives the impression that he had taken side with the church group that was arguing for the retention of the buggery law in Belize.

But Campbell, who appeared not to be satisfied with Antoine's arguments, told her that she has failed to point out anything in Bain's statement that "contradicts learning". She, however, said that if that's the case, it is because she has been asked "narrow questions".

Antoine said that Bain's evidence in Belize was damaging because it didn't speak to the matter of discrimination that helps to drive HIV.

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