Company loses legal challenge

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Bermuda Emissions Control Ltd have lost a legal appeal in advance of a scheduled appearance before the Commission of Inquiry.

BECL launched an appeal against a recent Supreme Court decision, stemming from a subpoena by the commission requesting the company provide documents regarding the development of the Transport Control Department’s emissions centre in Pembroke.

However, the Court of Appeal yesterday announced that they had dismissed the appeal, stating that written reasons would be released at a later date. No further specifics about the details of the appeal, or the consequences of the ruling, were given.

The commission had requested documents from the business as they continue their investigation into government spending, but BECL launched a legal challenge in the Supreme Court.

Lawyer Eugene Johnson, representing the company, challenged a subpoena issued by the commission which would have had the company produce documents to only one of the four commissioners, and said the minute books requested by the commission were not relevant to their investigation.

He also argued that the Premier unlawfully delegated the power to set the scope of the public inquiry to the COI and that the COI could not investigate the TCD emissions centre.

Furthermore, he said that the BECL’s minute books, which the commission has demanded to see, were “not relevant” to the matter.

In a hearing last month, Chief Justice Ian Kawaley ruled that the Premier’s decision to appoint the COI was valid, as was the COI’s decision to look into the TCD project.

While Mr Justice Kawaley did have questions about the subpoena, he suggested the matter could be resolved by the issuance of the new subpoena, requiring BECL to show its documents to all four commissioners, which the commission enacted the following day.

The COI is scheduled to meet next on Monday, with their schedule listing subpoena hearings with BECL and Donal Smith, the chief executive officer of BECL.

It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding court cases. As we are legally liable for any slanderous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.

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