Mon | Sep 24, 2018

Tension at Trafigura hearing ... adjourned indefinitely pending appeal

Published:Monday | June 6, 2016 | 12:03 PM
A smiling Simpson Miller exits the Supreme Court in Kingston today while her husband Errald Miller signals to the press to stop taking photos of the Opposition Leader.
K.D. Knight (front) is seen leaving court today followed by Simpson Miller (centre back). Knight said to Justice Lennox Campbell in court, "Don't shout at me, because I can shout as well."
KD Knight (in photo) tells Justice Lennox Campbell: "Don't shout at me, because I can shout as well."

There was tension at the Trafigura hearing this morning as Queen's Counsel K.D. Knight, the attorney for People's National Party (PNP) President Portia Simpson Miller, reacted to an instruction by Justice Lennox Campbell before the matter was adjourned indefinitely.

"Don't shout at me, because I can shout as well," Knight told justice Campbell.

Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Andrea Martin Swaby had got up to address the court when Knight interjected prompting Campbell to tell him not to interrupt the crown counsel.

Simpson Miller, PNP chairman Robert Pickersgill, Region Three chairman Phillip Paulwell, former PNP general secretary Colin Campbell and businessman Norton Hinds, appeared in court after being subpoenaed by Justice Campbell to answer to questions under oath about a $31 million to the party by Dutch oil trading firm Trafigura Beheer. 

However, the hearing could not proceed this morning because of a ruling by the Appeal Court last Friday staying the matter until an appeal is heard as to whether the PNP functionaries should be questioned in open court.

IN PHOTO: PNP president Portia Simpson Miller

On Friday, the Appeal Court also instructed that the court registrar consult with the relevant parties to set a date for the appeal to be heard.

This morning Campbell also asked Knight to agree on a date.

"I am not setting any dates," Knight responded to Justice Campbell.

In the meantime, the hearing has been adjourned indefinitely pending the hearing of the appeal.

In November 2011, Campbell had ruled that Simpson Miller and the other PNP functionaries should answer questions from the Dutch authorities under oath in open court.

However, the PNP lawyers appealed against the ruling.

Last week, the Director of Public Prosecutions filed an application seeking to have the appeal struck out claiming that since November 2011, the PNP lawyers have done nothing to advance the matter.

READ: Court rejects application to strike out appeal in Trafigura matter

Assistant DPP Swaby told the Appeal Court that the PNP lawyers were awaiting the transcript of the hearing, which had been at the Supreme Court since December 2011.

However, Knight said he was never informed.

He also said the legal team had not yet received in writing, Campbell's reasons for his ruling that the PNP functionaries should answer in open court questions about the $31 million Trafigura donation.