Sat | Sep 30, 2023

Dalrymple Philibert seeks judicial review after GLC refuses to toss out case against her

Published:Sunday | November 6, 2022 | 12:12 AMErica Virtue - Senior Gleaner Writer
Marisa Dalrymple Philibert
Marisa Dalrymple Philibert

Marisa Dalrymple Philibert has sought a judicial review of the General Legal Council’s (GLC) decision not to dismiss the misconduct case against her brought by the children of the late Clinton Clarke for her handling of his estate.

At the pre-trial review on Monday, October 31, the matter was adjourned until December 15.

Dalrymple Philibert, the Speaker of the Lower House of Parliament and a member of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) administration, has been embroiled in the case brought by the blood children of Clarke for over 20 years.

The GLC, which hears complaints against lawyers, threw out the request of Dalrymple Philibert’s lawyers to dismiss the case in a June 2, 2022 letter. The Disciplinary Committee, by way of a nine-page letter, told her lawyers, King’s Counsel Ransford Braham and David Johnson, that it was refusing the application. This follows her first application to dismiss/stay proceedings together with affidavit in 2014 following the reopening of the case.

Now in its 24th year, the GLC first dismissed the case in 1995, shortly after Dalrymple Philibert became member of parliament for Trelawny Southern, but it was reopened nearly a decade later.

Richard Clarke, the biological child of Clinton Clarke, who is the complainant and one of several legal beneficiaries, has been seeking redress after the case went dormant for years when the files went missing. The files were later found among the documents in the office of disbarred late attorney E.H. Williams. In 1997, the GLC dismissed the case without a hearing.

Fifteen later, it was reopened after an updated affidavit was filed.

Dalrymple Philibert has strongly refuted the complaint against her. She sought orders (pursuant to the Legal Profession) Disciplinary Proceedings (amendments) Rules 2014 (Rule)7(2) that (a) “Complaint No.168/2013 or such part(s) thereof relating to the professional conduct of the applicant in handling the estate of Clinton Clarke, deceased, be dismissed and/or stayed on the ground that the delay in prosecuting the said complaint has caused substantial prejudice to the applicant and is therefore an abuse of the process of the Tribunal. (b) There be such further or other relief as may be just in the circumstances…”

On June 29, 2017 an amended Notice of Application to dismiss/stay proceedings sought orders that the delay will deny or deprive her of a fair hearing/trial; substantial prejudice has arisen because of the delay, and if the hearing is permitted to proceed after all the delay and/or prejudice, there will be an abuse of the process and/or breach of the provisions of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms (Charter of Rights) sections 13 and 16(1) and (2).

Her affidavit said the substance of the allegation is the same as part of or similar to the earlier complaint, which is contrary to the principles of res judicata, issue estoppels, and that it was an abuse of process.

The facts of the case outlined by the GLC in the June 2 letter are almost the same to that submitted by Dalrymple Philibert following the GLC’s decision to reopen the case. Submissions from Braham for Dalrymple Philibert and John Clarke for the Clarke estate, no relation to the deceased, were taken and considered by the three-man panel of the Disciplinary Committee.

The letter said Braham cited a number of authorities to support the two issues which should bar the hearing. The panel said the principles of the authorities were not applicable as the complaint brought in 1995 was dismissed without a hearing on said merit.

John Clarke, in his submissions, said the Disciplinary Committee was a creature of statute and that it could not exercise a power or authority not given to it by Statute; that it has no power to stay or strike out the matter; that there was never a hearing on the merits for issue estoppels to arise; and though there was a delay, there were reasons inclusive of the attorney’s own action.

Richard Clarke has written to more than a dozen policing and investigating bodies seeking compensation for what he alleges to be professional misconduct.

The complaint involves three properties, but at the heart of the dispute is the commercial property at 92 Barnett Street, which Dalrymple Philibert is alleged to have sold after fraudulently obtaining a title and failure to discharge the matters for which her services were sought.