Mon | Oct 23, 2017

Solicitor General urges court to uphold ruling to bar Public Defender from gay rights case

Published:Thursday | February 23, 2017 | 3:29 PM
Public Defender Arlene Harrison Henry (in photo) is appealing Justice Kissock Laing's July 2016 decision not to allow her to join the case in which a gay man is claiming the buggery law infringes on his constitutional right to equality before the law.

Solicitor General Nicole Foster-Pusey has urged the Court of Appeal to uphold a lower court's ruling barring the Public Defender from joining a gay rights case saying the office has no business in a court.

She made the argument this morning on day two of the hearing of an appeal brought by Public Defender Arlene Harrison Henry.

She's appealing Justice Kissock Laing's July 2016 decision not to allow her to join the case in which a gay man is claiming the buggery law infringes on his constitutional right to equality before the law.

Foster-Pusey argued that there's no provision in the Public Defender Interim Act to support the office participating in a court case.

She said it does not matter whether the Public Defender will take a side or be neutral.

The Solicitor General argued that the law only allows the Public Defender to facilitate a complainant getting legal representation to take their matter to the court.

The Public Defender has argued that the law establishing her office makes it clear that she has a duty to protect and enforce the rights of all citizens.

Lord Anthony Gifford who is representing her has also rejected the argument from the Solicitor General that the Public Defender's role is limited to investigations

The Solicitor General is representing the Attorney General who opposes the Public Defender joining as an interested party in the case brought by Maurice Tomlinson.

A panel of three judges headed by Appeal Court President Justice Dennis Morrison is hearing the case.