With unfavourable rulings made against him at the High Court, the Full Court and the Court of Appeal, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo is now taking his appeal of a multi-million-dollar defamation judgement against him to the Caribbean Court of Justice.
On Monday, the Court of Appeal dismissed an application by the Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo to hear the matter. The Appeal Court ordered that the matter be sent back to High Court Judge, Sandra Kurtzious for damages to be awarded to Opposition Member of Parliament, Annette Ferguson her defamation lawsuit against the Vice President.
In his application to the CCJ, the Vice President is asking the Court to completely overturn the decision of the Appeal Court.
“More importantly, I have been advised by Counsel and verily believe that there has been a substantial miscarriage of justice, since I have been deprived of an opportunity to appeal the propriety of the Default Judgment issued against me, I being left without a remedy and no further appellate recourse,” Mr. Jagdeo said in his application to the CCJ.
In the application to the Court, Mr. Jagdeo also stated that he has been advised by his legal counsel that the Court of Appeal judges erred in law and fact by failing to the consider that the Judges of the Full Court erred by failing to issue directions and/or reassign the matter to a bench of the Full Court consisting of an odd number of Judges, or grant an extension of time to file a fresh appeal, in light of the dissenting nature of the judgment resulting in a possibly unappealable automatic reversion to the High Court Decision.
“I face the threat of imminently having a money judgment entered against me, and but more importantly, having indelibly on the record a finding that I defamed the Intended Respondent, which is patently inaccurate, especially in light of my defences. Such a finding will affect my standing in the public’s eye and have a damaging and long-lasting impact on my political career,” Mr. Jagdeo said in his application.
Mr. Jagdeo said that if the orders he is seeking from the CCJ are not granted, he would be deprived of the ability to defend the Claim on its merits and his Constitutional right to appeal, and the Court would be sanctioning “the draconian imposition of a default judgment” despite the overriding objective and the prospect of success on his part.
Ms. Feguson’s lawsuit stemmed from statements Jagdeo made in the media about her acquisition of land and construction of her house, while she served in the last Government.
Mr. Jagdeo’s Attorneys never filed a defence on his behalf and several deadlines were missed, allowing the Judge to enforce a default judgement in the matter.