A case of shooting the messenger

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    Dual purpose: the Sessions House, home of Bermuda's parliament and judiciary

Hi, Joe Wakefield. I missed the time frame to comment on your letter of March 29, 2018. You are a senior lawyer and a former teacher, and it should be below me or, better said, above my pay grade to comment on your comprehension.

Nowhere in my op-ed of March 26, 2018 did I refer to the evidence on the Lahey clinic case. In fact, as it would appear, the evidence or its merit on the case was never examined or litigated for that matter — the issue was “no standing”, hence the case was rejected.

The point here is until there is evidence that reaches the level that warrants prosecution, no matter what one feels about an individual, they are free and must be respected as innocent.

May I say, Joe, even if in reverse of the cliché, “if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck”, according to the law, it’s not a duck until you have empirical evidence. You, as a lawyer, should know that.

Second, as a government that respects the separation of the judiciary and the legislative bodies, one has to separate criminal investigation from civil queries. The role of attorney-general is not that of the head of the Department of Public Prosecution. Yes, the Attorney-General must protect the public assets, which indeed is a civil matter. It should never be the case where legislators are using the branches of government designed to protect society, then randomly switch hands and leverage other bodies. That is what happens in places such as Russia and Zimbabwe, where ruling parties prosecute their opposition. When or if the DPP finds enough evidence to prosecute, that will be the appropriate time and vehicle for any matter of similar kind.

I’m not a lawyer but in the 2017 immigration cases in the United States where the President’s ban on certain Middle Eastern nations became a huge legal battle, the issue of “Standing” was crucial. How could the Attorney-General or his advisers miss what appears to be Law 101? To determine who has the right to make a claim is the first law of “tort” to claim damages.

As to this seeming attempt to politicise my opinion, all of my opinions are there as a matter of public and historical record. You will observe, when the One Bermuda Alliance first became the Government, I was lenient with my commentary or criticism.

I would think it is fair to allow persons, when they first assume office or a job, time to see where they are heading before casting aspersions. To do so pre-emptively only shows bias. I do the same for the Progressive Labour Party. I would rather encourage the new leadership towards what I believe to be proper, but if it heads down a wrong path and I am not able to quietly manipulate the leadership in the right direction, I will make noise.

I have done that with the United Bermuda Party, the OBA and previous PLP administrations.

It seems that in your poke at me, you have slipped into an emotional position. Seemingly, if Khalid Wasi only were to fall in line and hold sacrosanct the OBA governance, his opinion would be respected. But heaven forbid should he not support but only encourage the PLP — he would do so at the expense of his integrity.

The article I wrote was not a shot aimed solely at the former Attorney-General; rather, it was towards all MPs and government officials and department heads.

It’s like this, Joe Wakefield: we know that most crimes go unpunished, we know that lots if not most of the unwarranted behaviour is got away with, but when we catch it, to ignore it is to condone it, particularly when it is public. So as a healthy social function, we make a public example when we catch a crime or misbehaviour.

As a commentator, it would have spoken volumes had I made no comment or did nothing about it.

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Published Apr 5, 2018 at 9:58 am (Updated Apr 5, 2018 at 1:55 pm)

A case of shooting the messenger

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