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No evidence to support Bain's claims- UWI attorney

Published:Wednesday | January 28, 2015 | 1:00 AMBarbara Gayle

The University of the West Indies (UWI) has asked the Full Court to rule that Professor Brendan Bain has brought no evidence to prove that he was defamed when it issued a statement about his termination.

Queen's Counsel Hugh Small, who is representing the UWI, said it published its explanation for Bain's termination in circumstances where there was a firestorm.

He submitted in his closing address yesterday that civil-society groups had written letters to the university protesting against Bain's continued leadership of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training Network in light of the expert report he gave in the case of a gay man who was challenging the buggery law in Belize.

Bain was asked by a church group to give an expert report in 2012. He said Vice-Chancellor E. Nigel Harris had asked Bain to appease the civil groups that had complained about his testimony, but he did not comply.

Small has asked the court to find that there was no evidence to support Bain's claim that the university was punishing him by dismissing him because of the report.

He said the university always maintained that Bain was entitled to give the expert report.

Small argued that while the UWI was constitutionally bound to protect Bain's freedom of expression, the university also had its own rights. He said the university was within its rights when it issued the statement in May announcing Bain's dismissal.

The university terminated Bain's contract last year May, citing that his constituents had lost confidence in him after he gave the export report in a Belizean court. The university's action led to days of protests by Christian and other groups, which accused the institution of seeking to muzzle Bain.

NO BREACH OF CONTRACT

In referring to the contract, Small said that there was no breach of contract as Bain was contending. He said Bain had tenure as a member of the academic staff at the university until his retirement. According to Small, Bain contemplated his condition was going to change after he retired and he approached Harris about a post-retirement contract. He said the contract was for a two-year fixed term and either party could terminate the contract by three months' notice. He said there was no provision for the renewal of the contract.

Bain has sued the UWI for breach of contract, breach of his constitutional rights, and defamation arising from his dismissal.

Attorney-at-law Georgia Gibson Henlin, who is representing Bain, willl make her closing arguments today before Justice Lennox Campbell, Justice Paulette Williams, and Justice Frank Willliams, who are hearing the case.

barbara.gayle@gleanerjm.com