Simpson Miller, PNP officials granted leave to Privy Council to challenge Trafigura case
Jerome Reynolds, Assistant Editor - Online
Former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and other senior officials of the People's National Party (PNP) in the Trafigura case have been given the go-ahead to take their case to the United Kingdom-based Privy Council.
The Court of Appeal, which reserved judgement in February, this morning granted their application for leave to Jamaica's final court.
One of the attorneys for the PNP officials Patrick Atkinson told The Gleaner that the court's decision is based on a matter of rights under Section 110 of the Constitution.
Inter alia, that provision stipulates that the Court of Appeal may grant leave to the Privy Council where, in its opinion, the question involved in the appeal is one that, by reason of its great general or public importance or otherwise, ought to be submitted to Her Majesty in Council.
In allowing the appeal, the court held that the issues raised related to a final decision in civil proceedings on questions as to the interpretation of the Constitution.
Atkinson says the applicants have 90 days within which to file an appeal.
The lawyers for the PNP are challenging, among other things, a decision by the Supreme Court to make an order that Simpson Miller, Phillip Paulwell, Robert Pickersgill, Colin Campbell and Norton Hinds can answer questions in open court from Dutch investigators probing the $31 million donation to the PNP in 2006.
That ruling was made by former Supreme Court judge Justice Lennox Campbell last June.
Campbell's decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal following a challenge by the PNP officials.
Dutch firm Trafigura Baheer made the donation to the PNP while the Jamaican Government had an oil-lifting agreement with the company.
Dutch firms are prohibited from making donations to foreign governments.
Dutch investigators want Simpson Miller and the other PNP officials to answer questions in public about the donation.