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Public Defender heads to Appeal Court today in bid to join buggery law case

Published:Tuesday | February 21, 2017 | 9:16 AM
Public Defender Arlene Harrison Henry

The battle by the Office of the Public Defender to join a court case in which a gay rights activist is challenging Jamaica's anti-sodomy law is to be heard in the Court of Appeal this morning.

The panel of three judges will hear submissions from the lawyers for the Public Defender Arlene Harrison Henry.

Mrs Harrison Henry wants the Appeal Court to overturn a decision of a Supreme Court judge blocking her from joining as an interested party in the lawsuit brought by Maurice Tomlinson.

READ: Public defender shut out of buggery law case

Tomlinson had filed a constitutional motion against the Attorney General saying the buggery law amounts to a direct and blatant denial of equality before the law for him and other gay men.

In her application to join the case as an interested party, the Public Defender argued that her office was created for the purpose of protecting and enforcing the rights of citizens.

However, Justice Kissock Laing turned down the application stating that the Public Defender was seeking to insert herself into the centre of a nationally divisive issue and could lose the confidence of many Jamaicans if allowed to join the case.