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Everyone who works at the UWI would be on " tenterhooks"

Published:Tuesday | January 20, 2015 | 1:01 AM
Professor Brendan Bain

Dr William Aiken, a urologist employed to the University of the West Indies (UWI), has said that in light of what happened to Professor Brendan Bain, everyone who works at the UWI would be on " tenterhooks" as to the expert evidence they give.

He explained that doctors would be wary of giving expert evidence if it was not aligned to the ideological positions of the university and other funding agencies.

Aiken, who was called as a witness by Dr Bain, made the disclosure in the Supreme Court when he was re-examined by attorney-at-law Georgia Gibson Henlin, who is representing Professor Bain.

Academic freedom

Cross-examined by Hugh Small, QC, who is representing the UWI, Aiken said he was employed to the UWI and his right to academic freedom has never been challenged by the university.

Bain was fired from the university in May last year after the UWI alleged that his constituents had lost confidence in him. He is suing UWI for breach of contract, breach of constitutional rights, and defamation. Bain's two-year contract was terminated as director of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Training Network (CHART). Bain had given expert evidence in Belize on behalf of church groups in a case in which a man was challenging the buggery law.

Mavis Fuller, part-time consultant with UWI, testified that she read a statement online about Bain's dismissal and her understanding of it was that he was guilty of prejudice and discrimination. She said she did not read the entire article.

When Small asked her to read the entire statement, she agreed that it was worded carefully to respect the right of academics to voice their views.