Bar Council threatened
The Office of the Attorney General(OAG)has threatened to ask a court to compel the Bar Council to make a decision on whether Director of Public Prosecutions(DPP)Vinette Graham-Allen will be admitted to the Bar,The Nassau Guardiancan reveal.
Director of Legal Affairs Deborah Fraser said the OAG intends to commence legal action tomorrow if the Bar Council does not rule on Graham-Allen’s application by the close of business today.
In a letter to Bar Association President Ruth Bowe-Darville, Fraser wrote:”Please take note that proceedings for an order of mandamus against the Bar Council shall be commenced on Thursday, January 27, 2011 in the event that the Bar Council does not make and communicate to the applicant its determination at the close of business on Wednesday January 26, 2011. Please also note that costs of such proceedings shall be sought.”
Fraser said Graham-Allen is unable to completely fulfill her duties because she is unable to appear in court.
Fraser said on August 30, 2010, Graham-Allen submitted her application to the Bar Council, which heard objections to the application on December 20, 2010.
The letter went on to say that the attorney general and Fraser requested a copy of the minutes of the hearing and asked the Council to make an early decision prior to the conclusion of the hearing.
She said the Office of the Attorney General wrote a letter requesting the Bar Council’s decision on December 23, 2010.
Fraser wrote,”As of today’s date, the Bar Council has failed and refused to provide a determination of the application nor have we been provided with the minutes of the mentioned hearing.”
She continued,”The 2011 Legal Year opened on January 13, 2011 and in circumstances of the Bar Council’s continuing failure and refusal to make a determination of the application, the applicant continues to be limited in her duties as a legal public officer by not being able to proceed to admission to the Bahamas Bar and therefore appear to be accorded right of audience[in court].”
Graham-Allen’s appointment is currently the subject of a court action.
Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl Grant-Bethell has filed a judicial review of the decision of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission(JLSC)not to appoint her DPP.
The JLSC denied Grant-Bethell’s application after it received damaging information about her in a report from the Security Intelligence Branch. The alleged information has not been disclosed in court and Grant-Bethell was denied the chance to defend herself.
Lawyers Elsworth Johnson and Fox Hill MP Fred Mitchell asked the Council to defer its decision on Graham-Allen’s application until the court determines the judicial review case. They argued that the Council would prevent anawkward situation if the court rules against Graham-Allen’s appointment as Director of Public Prosecutions.