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Expert witness says Bain's report fell short

Published:Saturday | January 24, 2015 | 12:00 AMBarbara Gayle
Professor Brendan Bain

THE DEAN of the Faculty of Law at the University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine campus, Professor Rosemarie Antoine, has criticised the expert report which Professor Brendan Bain gave to the Belizean Court in 2012.

She said Bain's report gave the impression that anal sex between men is a public-health risk but did not highlight the impact of discrimination and the stigma which caused them to go underground. She said Bain's report misrepresented the UWI's position on HIV and men having sex with men.

Bain had given an expert report in 2012 in the case of a gay man who was seeking to have the buggery law repealed. He was consulted by church groups, who were opposing the case, to give the report.

The university terminated Bain's contract as the director of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training Network (CHART) last May, citing, among other things, that his constituents had lost confidence in him. He is suing the UWI for breach of contract, breach of constitutional rights, and defamation.

Antoine, who was called by the UWI as an expert witness, said in her report that Professor Bain's testimony suggests that homosexuals alone are not deserving of protection under the law, that it is right to continue to discriminate against them and to treat homosexuals as criminals precisely because of their vulnerability. She said in the report that "whatever the intent, the outcome of Bain's action was severely detrimental for the UWI and, in my opinion, the UWI was compelled to act to safeguard its integrity".

Under cross-examination from Bain's attorney, Georgia Gibson Henlin, Antoine said Bain's report made certain omissions, and she went on to outline them.

Community-development specialist Ian McKnight said in 2012, he was the executive director of the Caribbean Vulnerable Community Coalition (CVCC). He said the suit to repeal the buggery law in Belize was brought as part of CVCC's human-rights strategy to repeal the buggery law across the region.

The UWI closed its case yesterday and, on Monday, attorney at-law Carlene Larmond, who is representing the attorney general, will make submissions. The attorney general is an interested party in the case because of constitutional issues raised by Bain.

barbara.gayle@gleanerjm.com