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Patrick Atkinson to be next attorney general

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

Saturday, January 07, 2012    

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NEWLY elected Member of Parliament Patrick Atkinson is to be appointed Jamaica's next attorney general, according to Observer sources.

Atkinson, a prominent defence attorney and Queen's Counsel, will replace Ransford Braham, who resigned the post this week following the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) loss in last week's general elections.

Braham, who was appointed in July by the JLP and took up the post on August 8, had worked with the law firm Livingston Alexander & Levy for 23 years prior to his appointment.

An official announcement is expected to be made soon about Atkinson's appointment, after which he will be sworn in at King's House.

On December 29, Atkinson defeated the JLP's Dennis Meadows 10,850 votes to 8,567 to take the North Trelawny constituency for the People's National Party (PNP).

Atkinson comes to the post with just over 40 years' experience at the bar, 18-and-a-half of which were spent practising in the United States. In the US, Atkinson held several managerial positions and has been recognised for his service.

During his time there Atkinson was, among other things, assistant public defender in Marin County, North California, a position which put him in charge of day-to-day running of the office with close to 30 attorneys under his charge.

Atkinson was also co-ordinator in charge of personnel at a statutory law firm in Los Angeles. Among Atkinson's duties in that post was the training of attorneys in the handling of death penalty cases and assigning of death penalty cases.

He sat on several justice committees and was at one point awarded a certificate for being trial lawyer of the year in the area of criminal justice. Atkinson is known for not losing a death penalty case.

In Jamaica, the fiery attorney has worked several big cases, among them the Green Bay killings. He was also a major standout at the Dudus/Manatt commission of enquiry, which many believed helped toppled the JLP government.

He is currently one of the defence attorneys in the Cuban light bulb trial, involving former PNP junior minister Kern Spencer, appear in the Trafigura case now before the Supreme Court and represents businessman Patrick Powell in the so-called X-6 killing case.

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