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DPP asks court to strike out PNP appeal in Trafigura matter, attorneys for hearing Friday

Published:Thursday | June 2, 2016 | 4:51 PM

Livern Barrett, Senior Gleaner Writer

The nation’s chief prosecutor Paula Llewellyn has asked the Appeal Court to strike out an appeal by lawyers for People’s National Party (PNP) president Portia Simpson Miller and other party functionaries that has delayed the Trafigura case for more than a year.

The application for court orders was yesterday filed by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) which is acting as the Central Authority under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with The Netherlands.

Dutch authorities want to question Simpson Miller; PNP chairman Robert Pickersgill; former PNP general secretary Colin Campbell and businessman Norton Hinds to answer questions under oath about a $31 million donation the PNP received from Dutch firm Trafigura Beheer while it formed the government in 2006.

IN PHOTO: PNP president Portia Simpson Miller

The DPP has asked the Appeal Court to deal with her application as a matter of urgency as the long-delayed Trafigura case is scheduled to resume on Monday.

READ: Portia Simpson Miller subpoenaed in Trafigura case

As a result, the Registrar of the Appeal Court today summoned all attorneys in the case for a hearing scheduled for 2 o’clock Friday.

The move by the DPP follows an assertion by Simpson Miller’s lead attorney K. D. Knight that he has a court order barring High Court Judge Justice Lennox Campbell from going ahead with the Trafigura case on Monday.

IN PHOTO: Attorney K.D. Knight 

"I have before me an order of the highest court in the land, the Court of Appeal, and it says ‘appeal allowed’. Proceedings before Campbell J stayed pending the determination of claim," Knight told The Gleaner on Tuesday.

READ: Portia will be in court if she gets subpoena, says attorney

He was referring to an order he said was made by the Appeal Court on December 8, 2011.

But Llewellyn told The Gleaner today that her office is of the view that there is nothing in place to prevent the case from resuming on Monday.

IN PHOTO: DPP Paula Llewellyn

"In an abundance of caution, what we thought would be appropriate was to seek to have the input of the Court of Appeal to definitively clarify that issue," she explained.

The case was first adjourned on November 16, 2011 as lawyers for Simpson Miller and the other PNP functionaries indicated that they had planned to mount constitutional challenges to two court orders compelling their clients to give answers and in open court.

Both challenges were dismissed by the Constitutional Court in September 2012, but the attorneys signalled that they would take their fight to the Appeal Court.

However, this week, Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Andrew Martin Swaby reported that when the appeal was called up in December 2014, Simpson Miller’s lead attorney K.D. Knight gave verbal notice that he planned to proceed with only one of the appeals – the one against the hearings being held in open court.