Mon | Nov 29, 2021

Bodyguard loses bid to get back gun permit from FLA

Published:Friday | October 22, 2021 | 12:53 PM
The Court of Appeal ruled that the judge in the Supreme Court did not err in law or fact. - File photo.

The Court of Appeal has thrown out an application brought by private bodyguard Phillip Harris to overturn a decision by the Firearms Licensing Authority (FLA) to revoke his firearm user's licence.

The permit was revoked in June 2019.

Following the decision, Harris first appealed to the Review Board of the FLA and then to the Minister of National Security under section 37A of the Firearms Act but did not get a response.

In October last year, he made an application for leave to apply for judicial review in the Supreme Court.

He sought an order to quash the FLA's decision and to get legal costs.

The application was dismissed.  

Harris then took the matter to the Court of Appeal seeking permission to appeal the ruling of the Supreme Court.

He also applied for permission to adduce fresh evidence. 

Attorney-at-law Lemar Neale, who represented Harris, argued that the judge had wrongly exercised her discretion when she refused to extend time for Harris to apply for leave for judicial review.

He submitted that the judge erred when she found that there was no arguable ground for judicial review with a reasonable prospect of success. 

However, Attorney-at-law Courtney Foster, who represented the FLA, argued that the authority did not breach the Firearms Act when it revoked Harris' firearm user's licence.

She further argued that the FLA exercised procedural fairness based on the manner in which the licence was revoked. 

She submitted that the judge was correct when she refused to extend the time for Harris to apply for leave for judicial review.

In addition,  it was argued that the evidence which Harris was seeking to adduce before the Court of Appeal was not reliable and failed to satisfy the evidential and legal threshold.  

The Court of Appeal ruled on October 6 that the judge in the Supreme Court did not err in law or fact.

The court said it was not satisfied that the material submitted by Harris supported that he had an arguable ground for judicial review.

The application for permission to produce fresh evidence in the Court of Appeal was also refused.

The court upheld Neale's submissions that based on the circumstances of the case, legal costs should not be awarded to the FLA.

- Barbara Gayle 

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