Campaign group complain of ‘flagrant breach’ of court order – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Campaign group complain of ‘flagrant breach’ of court order

David Burt the Premier has been accused of “a flagrant breach” of court orders. (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

David Burt, the Premier, has been accused of “a flagrant breach” of court orders after Government failed to submit evidence to the Supreme Court outlining its case for mandatory supervised quarantining.

At a hearing at the beginning of this month, pressure group Constitutional Freedom Bermuda (CFB) filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of Government’s policy, which states that non-vaccinated Bermudians must quarantine under supervision at a Government-approved hotel.

The application was filed by three applicants – Albert Brewster, Vincent Lightbourne and Wendy Warren – who asked for an interim injunction to have the regulation temporarily shelved.

Chief Justice Narinder Hargun set the matter aside for a hearing on July 7, and ordered that Government file its submissions – evidence outlining its case – by last Friday, June 25.

The Royal Gazette understands that, as of yesterday no submissions have been filed.

The lack of action was criticised by CFB, which accused Mr Burt of “throwing the court’s timeline for this important constitutional matter into disarray”.

A statement from the group read: “On June 4, 2021, the Chief Justice ordered the Premier and Minister of Health to file all evidence which they rely upon to assert that mandatory hotel quarantine is reasonably required in the interest of public health. The Court ordered deadline was set for Friday, June 25, 2021.

“Most unfortunately, the Premier and Minister of Health failed to file any evidence by the court’s deadline and have flagrantly breached the court order which will has thrown the court’s timeline for this important constitutional matter into disarray.

“No correspondence has been forthcoming from counsel acting on behalf of the Premier and Minister of Health indicating a basis for the failure to meet the deadline.

“It should concern all Bermudians that the Premier and Minister of Health are flagrantly breaching court orders. The Premier and Minister of Health are not above the law and must be held accountable for their contemptuous conduct that has the real potential of causing a serious delay to the determination of this important constitutional issue.

“The mandatory hotel quarantine was first announced in May 2021 and the Government should have had the evidence to support their position before announcing it to the public.

“All Bermudians should be concerned that, nearly three months later, the Government has failed to produce any evidence which supports their case that mandatory hotel quarantine is reasonably required in the interest of public health and that there are no less restrictive, more reasonable measures that can achieve the public health interest.

“We call upon the Premier and Minister of Health to withdraw the imposition of the unconstitutional mandatory hotel quarantine immediately.”

Mark Pettingill, the lawyer representing the group, also questioned why Government had failed to obey the court order.

He said: “It is clearly for the Government to establish by evidence that the imposition of a mandatory quarantine at a hotel for unvaccinated persons is ‘reasonably required’ in order to obviate Constitutional rights.

“Perhaps they forgot there was a deadline for the filing of that evidence or they do not have evidence in support of that position. I don’t know.”

The Royal Gazette contacted Government’s lawyer, Delroy Duncan, yesterday afternoon asking for a statement on the matter. To date, no response has been received.

This morning this newspaper also asked for a response from Government. Last night at about 8.50pm, a Government spokesperson said: “It would not be appropriate to comment on this matter as it is before the courts."