The flamboyant lawyer for discarded Education Minister Ruel Reid and embattled president of the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), Professor Fritz Pinnock, has been criticised for using delay tactics in his push for a judicial review.
Financial Investigations Division (FID) attorney Richard Small said, in his arguments in the Supreme Court yesterday, that Hugh Wildman’s questioning of the validity of the case could have been dealt with in trial, adding that if the defence lawyer was dissatisfied with the ruling, he had recourse at appeal.
Last October, Wildman declared that he would file an application for a judicial review on the grounds that the FID was not empowered by law to bring the charges against Reid and Pinnock and, therefore, acted illegally.
He further stated that the FID was purely an investigative body and did not have the legal authority to bring charges or obtain a fiat from the director of public prosecutions to prosecute them.
Small insinuated that Wildman may be attempting to sidestep the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court, where the trial is being heard, as he did not indicate to the court in the last sitting about the judicial hearing and its date.
Tit for tat
“That is a total distortion of the facts. You are attempting to mislead the court,” Wildman shouted, interrupting opposing counsel.
Seemingly annoyed by Wildman’s interjections and gesticulation throughout the hearing, Small angrily threw down his notes and asked the judges to quell the disturbances.
“In a calm tone unlike him, I am really asking the court to make a ruling to put an end to this disruption. Please, my Lord, this is unacceptable,” Small said to the Full Court panel comprising Justices David Batts, Chester Stamp, and Stephane Jackson Haisley.
After the judges adjourned for lunch, Wildman, along with his clients, continued lambasting Small.
“How him lie so? This is why I really cannot respect some people in this profession. For a senior lawyer, I would expect better. Desperate!” Wildman shouted.
Last October, Reid; his wife Sharen; their daughter Sharelle; as well as Pinnock and Brown’s Town division Councillor Kim Brown Lawrence were arrested and charged following a yearlong corruption probe into the Ministry of Education and the CMU.