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Whistle-blower wants judges suspended, claims they insulted and ridiculed her

LeYoni Junos claims Appeal Court judges were rude top her. Photo by Tamell Simons

Whistle-blower LeYoni Junos is calling for two judges to be suspended for “unfair, biased and abusive behaviour”.During a series of appearances at the Court of Appeal, Ms Junos said President Edward Zacca and Justice Sir Austin Ward ridiculed and insulted her.Justice Zacca refers to her as a “crazy lady” and a “stupid woman” in one official court recording, while Sir Austin laughs at his comments, she said.“I didn’t hear it at the time, but when I listened to the recordings, I was completely shocked,” Ms Junos said. “He said it quiet enough that it couldn’t be heard in the court, but the recording system picked it up.“I had this idea that the Court of Appeal would be a group of judges who would independently review the facts. What I found with those two, Justice Zacca and Justice Ward, it seemed to be sport for them to ridicule and abuse me.”Mr Justice Zacca declined an opportunity to comment saying he did not feel it was appropriate for a judge to discuss matters before the court. Efforts to reach Sir Austin were unsuccessful.The Ministry of Justice was contacted in relation to this story, but as of press time last night had not issued a comment.In a formal letter to Governor Sir Richard Gozney, Ms Junos calls for both judges to be suspended. In the letter, she says the issues began in November 2009 when she appeared before them in connection with her 2008 firing from the Department of Tourism.Ms Junos said she was working as administrator of the African Diaspora Trail three years ago when she flagged up concerns about Henderson Associates. She claimed the Maryland-based event planning company had close links to former Premier and Tourism Minister, Ewart Brown.Ms Junos said the company had published false information claiming it had US charitable status. A short time later, she said she was called into Dr Brown’s office where she was verbally threatened with dismissal. The next day, her contract was terminated with no reason given.Puisne Judge Ian Kawaley found that she was unlawfully fired, but did not agree with her claim of political interference by Dr Brown. He awarded her payment until February 19, 2009, but did not order that her job should be given back.Ms Junos brought the matter to the Court of Appeal hoping to be reinstated at which time, she claimed, Mr Justice Zacca repeatedly cut her off and “badgered” her to drop her appeal.“He tried to scare me with a threat of being saddled with the respondent’s costs,” she wrote in the letter to the Governor. “I was so traumatised I could hardly speak. This barrage only abated upon the intervention of Justice Anthony Evans.”In the judgement, Mr Justice Zacca wrote that she persisted in her submissions “even to a degree which appeared to the Court to be obsessive”, but he and the other judges tried to help her through the process.The appeal was dismissed after Ms Junos failed to show up for one day of the court hearings. Ms Junos said she didn’t attend because the previous appearance had been traumatic.“I was so depressed that I refused to come back, and that’s the day I filed the first complaint,” she said.Two months after writing the letter of complaint, she received a response from the Governor promising to look into the matter, but no other correspondence followed.Since losing her job, the 50-year-old said she has been unable to pay her mortgage. That sparked a legal battle with HSBC Bermuda, which last week attempted to repossess her home and car following a court hearing held in her absence.Ms Junos said she has been repeatedly denied audio recordings taken in relation to a separate appeal in connection with her recent mortgage battle.She said she was later informed by an e-mail from an administrative officer at the court that Mr Justice Zacca had ordered the recording system turned off during the session.She was also told that if she had received previous audio recordings from the court, they had been sent in error.“I was not informed that this was taking place at the time,” Ms Junos said. “The recordings of these hearings have been denied to me since June and are vital to my appeal to the Privy Council.”Sir Richard was off Island and unable to comment however Acting Governor David Arkley confirmed that Ms Junos’ letter of complaint had been received and that she would get a response in due course.