Charges against former attorney general dismissed

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts & Nevis: Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas welcomed a ruling on Monday by the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States Supreme Court of Appeal in dismissing a contempt of court charge brought against his former attorney general Dr. Dennis Merchant.

“I am very pleased that justice has been served,” said Dr. Douglas immediately after the ruling.

Senior Counsel Anthony Astaphan called for a public apology from the leadership of the main opposition People’s Action Movement (PAM).

“The judges were very clear that there was no basis for contempt,” said Astaphan, adding those members of the “lynch mob” should “hang their head in shame and immediately apologize publicly for misleading the people of St. Kitts and Nevis”.

Last year, High Court judge Rita Joseph Olivetti ruled that Merchant was in contempt of court when the St. Kitts and Nevis government defied an injunction preventing it from dealing with the report of the Constituencies Boundaries Commission.

Astaphan had argued before the Court of Appeal that the finding of contempt by the lower court was a travesty of justice, a severe violation of the rule of law and a constitutional heresy.

However, the three-judge panel had reserved judgment after hearing the submissions in November last year.


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