Fri | Dec 2, 2016

Witness concludes gay activists wanted Prof Bain's service terminated

Published:Tuesday | January 13, 2015 | 12:00 AM

The 15-day hearing into the lawsuit filed by Professor Brendan Bain against the University of the West Indies (UWI) over his dismissal last year began yesterday in the Full Court.

Bain, during his testimony, tendered into evidence the contract dated December 19, 2012 which he signed with the UWI when he was hired as director of Caribbean HIV/AIDS Training Network (CHART). He said the contract was signed shortly before he retired from his post at the university.

The UWI fired the noted health professional last May after alleging that his constituents had lost confidence in him. The move followed the decision of the professor to provide a 2012 expert report, which appeared to support the retention of anti-sodomy laws that were being challenged in Belize by a gay man.

The first witness called for the claimant was Dr Wycliffe Wright, a Jamaican who practises medicine in Tennessee, USA. He said when he read an article in the newspaper about the issue concerning Bain, he came to the conclusion that gay activists wanted his service to be terminated.

BAIN SEEKING DAMAGES

Bain is seeking damages for breach of contract, breach of constitutional rights and defamation.

The injunction barring the removal of the professor expires today, and the court will hear legal arguments as to whether it should be extended.

Yesterday, the Full Court, comprising Justices Lennox Campbell, Paulette Williams and Frank Williams, turned down two applications made by attorney-at-law Georgia Gibson Henlin, who is representing Bain. Gibson Henlin sought to have certain paragraphs in the witness statement of Professor E. Nigel Harris, who is vice-chancellor of the UWI, Mona, at the time, struck out. She had also applied to the court for a third witness statement by Bain to be admitted into evidence.

The applications were opposed by attorneys-at-law Hugh Small, QC, Christopher Kelman, Krishna Desai and Rachel McLarty, who are representing the UWI.

Director of litigations in the Office of the Attorney General, Carlene Larmond, has been given two days to make legal submissions in the case. The attorney general has taken an interest in the matter because the case involves constitutional issues.

The case was set for hearing for five days, but yesterday the court decided that there should be no break in the hearing and it was instead set for 15 days.

During the submissions yesterday, Small argued that Bain's contract would have ended in December 2014. He said the USA donor for the programme had sent a letter terminating the programme in September 2014, and since then the staff who Professor Bain supervised were laid off.

However, Gibson Henlin said the claimant had witness statement that stated that the fund went into 2015.