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Lawyer says PM, ministers have diplomatic immunity in Trafigura case
2012-09-24 17:27:18 | (0 Comments)
Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller
Attorney-at-law Bert Samuels is arguing that members of the People’s National Party (PNP) who are members of the Cabinet should not be called upon to give evidence in relation Trafigura matter.
Samuels is representing PNP President Portia Simpson Miller and party chairman Robert Pickersgill.
He was making a legal point as the Constitutional Court began hearing submissions today in the application brought by the PNP.
The People’s National Party is challenging an order for several of its members to answer questions relating to the controversial $31 million donation to the party by Trafigura.
At the time of the donation, Trafigura had an oil-lifting contract with the Government.
In making the application, Samuels referred to the Mutual Assistance (Criminal Matters) Act arguing that no person should be compelled to give evidence which he could not be compelled to give in criminal proceedings in Jamaica or in a foreign State.
He said the central authority which is the Director of Public Prosecution, has an obligation to advise the foreign State of the change of status of Simpson-Miller and Pickersgill who are now in the Cabinet and enjoy diplomatic immunity.
Samuels said when the court made the order for them to answer questions in court they were not members of the Cabinet but their statuses changed after the PNP won the election.
Earlier, Deborah Martin argued that the claimants were constitutional protection were abused when they were ordered to appear in open court to answer questions which could incriminate them.
Martin said the claimants exercised their rights under the Constitution not to answer any questions.
She is representing Phillip Paulwell and Colin Campbell.
The hearing continues on Wednesday.
Source: The Gleaner/Power 106 News
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