A High Court judge has accepted the submission of the legal team representing former St Kitts and Nevis prime minister Denzil Douglas.
The current leader of the opposition is at the centre of a case brought against him over holding a Dominican passport. It has been brought by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Legal affairs, Vincent Byron Jr.
“We argued that Dominican law is a matter of fact and so it would require an expert from Dominica to be sworn into evidence and to give evidence to the court on what are the specific laws of Dominica which are applicable,” said Angelina Sookoo –Bobb, part of Douglas’ legal team, following the ruling.
“The Attorney General argued that while usually foreign law requires an expert to assist the court, in this particular circumstance because it involves two countries which are members of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court system, it amounts to an exception and therefore, on the basis of a common court, the High Court sitting in St Kitts can determine Dominican law and its jurisdiction extends to Dominica and therefore, we do not need a witness from Dominica to assist the court in terms of what are the laws of Dominica, but the court can take what is called ‘judicial notice’ of what those laws are,” she contended.
Sookoo-Bobb said that Justice Ward’s judgement is not inconsistent with the authorities in this matter.
“Once you raise the laws of another country, what is required is an expert from that country to advise what the laws are,” said Sookoo-Bobb, pointing out that Monday afternoon’s ruling by Justice Ward “confirms that the approach the Attorney General is taking in this case is perhaps a misguided approach.”
The judge ordered Attorney General Byron to file his application to adduce expert evidence within 21 days.
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.