UPDATE: Defence lawyer reports Deputy DPP to General Legal Council
Defence lawyer Oswest Senior Smith has reported senior government prosecutor, Lisa Palmer Hamilton, to the General Legal Council after she accused him of assaulting her in court.
The council is the statutory body that regulates the legal profession in Jamaica.
Both Senior Smith and Palmer Hamilton are appearing in a murder case now before the Home Circuit Court.
The Gleaner has obtained a copy of the written complaint that Senior Smith submitted to the council.
"I am constrained to lodge a complaint of professional misconduct against Senior Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Mrs Lisa Palmer-Hamilton; who on February 1, 2016, without any reason during the ongoing trial Regina v. Bertram Clarke et al, told the learned trial judge the Honourable Ms Justice Gloria Smith, that I had assaulted her,” wrote the lawyer.
He continued: "Mrs Palmer-Hamilton has traduced and sullied my character and integrity in a professional capacity... and must account for (what) led her to make those irresponsible, reckless, unbecoming, besmirching comments to the Court."
However, in court today, Palmer Hamilton disputed reports that she accused the defence lawyer of assaulting her.
She told the court that what she actually said was "I feel as If I were being assaulted" and according to her, she said so in a "light-hearted manner".
The prosecutor explained that there were times when there are ‘light moments’ in court.
"Unfortunately, the report which was published placed it in a manner which caused discomfort and distress. I don't think that friendly banter would be taken out of context. I did not accuse counsel of assaulting me," she said.
When Palmer Hamilton made the comments in court yesterday afternoon, Senior Smith, in response, said he wanted to place on record that the claim was not true.
"I did not assault her," he told the court.
Senior Smith later told The Gleaner that he was making comments which he did not want the 12-member jury to hear and so he went ‘close’ to Palmer Hamilton to talk to her.
In response to Palmer Hamilton's announcement today, Senior Smith said he was not the best with 'Jamaicanism' "but frog seh what is joke to you is death to me," the attorney said quoting a well-known local proverb.
Senior Smith said while Palmer Hamilton is now claiming that her comment was a friendly banter he did not perceive it in that way yesterday.
"Especially when a lawyer says ‘I was assaulted’ it suggests a criminal act on my part,” Senior Smith said.
Meanwhile, Justice Gloria Smith in bringing the issue to the jury’s attention said having reviewed the court transcript, what was reported in the media “did not accurately take place”.
The judge also said she was confident that the lawyers the case will continue to the conclusion of the matter.
Justice Smith called for them to be professional and respectful to each other.