Astaphan: Judge’s Denzil Douglas ruling ‘important’

Anthony Astaphan, senior counsel to the Dominica government.

The senior counsel for St Kitts and Nevis opposition leader Denzil Douglas believes Monday’s High Court ruling “is of considerable importance to the Dominica diplomatic passport case”

Anthony Astaphan is leading the legal team in a case brought by Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs Vincent Byron Jr.

“The Attorney General’s position was that he was not required or obliged to file expert evidence on the relevant laws of Dominica under which it is being alleged that Dr. Douglas pledged or gave an oath of acknowledgement of allegiance and obedience and whatever have you to the Commonwealth of Dominica,” said Astaphan.

He said Douglas’ legal team “argued strenuously that expert evidence was required because you need to establish the relevant law as a matter of fact.”

Astaphan said that was extremely important because as it stands now, following this ruling, the Attorney General will have to get a lawyer from Dominica to give expert evidence under the circumstances under which the diplomatic passport was acquired or whether there was any law in the Commonwealth of Dominica that make such an application in the use of such a passport are disqualifying factor.

“No doubt the Attorney General will rely on the cases from Jamaica and others that spoke about passport, but those are about regular passports after the acquisition of citizenship, etc, etc,” Astaphan.

“In our view we think this is a significant step forward for us in relation to the prosecution of the case and we look forward to the next set of applications we may have to deal with and then the trial of the matter,” said Astaphan.

The case goes to trial at the Sir Lee Llewellyn Moore Judicial and Legal Services Complex on 28 September.

Douglas’ legal team is led by Anthony Astaphan SC and includes Delano Bart QC, Sylvester Anthony and Angelina Sookoo-Bobb.

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