Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator
The Government and National Housing Trust (NHT) are seeking to recover legal costs from the two lawyers who represented a member of the civil action group Citizens Action for Principle and Integrity (CAPI) in an aborted challenge to the decision to take $45 billion from the NHT.
Attorneys-at-law Hugh Wildman and Marvalyn Taylor-Wright represented CAPI member Mario Harley in a suit which was aborted.
Last Friday, Taylor-Wright told The Sunday Gleaner that the application for wasted cost by the Government and the NHT was misconceived and improper.
According to Taylor-Wright, the attorneys will be defending the matter in court.
She explained that it was a public-interest matter and a citizen had a constitutional right to bring the action and should not be intimidated or threatened in any way.
Taylor-Wright argued that a citizen should be able to bring such a matter to court without fear of being penalised with costs.
The NHT and the Attorney General are seeking wasted costs against the lawyers under the Civil Procedure Rules which has a provision for lawyers to personally pays costs as a result of the improper, unreasonable or negligent action in a case.
Last week, one government lawyer explained that legal costs are not usually awarded against citizens who bring an action of this kind but costs can be sought for various reasons.
The application for wasted costs is set for hearing on April 11.
After the suit was filed, it was discovered that Harley was not a contributor to the NHT.
A notice of discontinuance was filed in Harley's suit .
CAPI is now proceeding by way of a constitutional motion seeking a declaration that the Government's decision to take the money from the NHT would be unconstitutional.
That motion was filed by 48-year-old St James businessman Fitzroy Fagan who says he has been a contributor to the fund for 22 years.
Fagan contends that the withdrawal of funds would be a breach of his constitutional right to property.
He says he has not received any benefit from the NHT.