Attorney at law, Sanjeev Datadin has brought to Guyana Standard’s attention “proof” that another prominent lawyer, Nigel Hughes, blatantly lied to the press when he dismissed allegations of conflict of interest and violation of client confidence.
The allegation was made by Leader of the Liberty and Justice Party (LJP), Lennox Shuman who said that after being his lawyer for years, Hughes chose to take a case against him.
Shuman is contending that Hughes represented his interest in several matters and is now representing the Guyana National Newspapers Limited (GNNL) and its editor, Nigel Williams, which he claims published information relating to those very matters in a libelous manner.
As a result, Datadin, acting on behalf of Shuman, filed an application asking the High Court to make an order that Hughes and his associates must refrain from representing GNNL (Chronicle) and its editor, Nigel Williams in a matter filed by Shuman earlier this year.
When Guyana Standard spoke to Hughes about Shuman’s claim, he vehemently denied.
Hughes told Guyana Standard that Shuman was never his client. He said that the little work his firm did for Shuman was done pro bono. Hughes said that he was just extending generosity to the indigenous community. Further, Hughes told this publication that he is not even representing the Chronicle in the matter. He said that the case is being handled by one of his senior associates at the firm, Jed Vasconcellos.
Hughes even added, “Our firm represents the Guyana National Newspapers Limited. We have been doing so for a while. I am not even handling the case, it is another senior associate who is handling it. It seems as if he (Shuman) is afraid of the capacity of Mr. Jed Vasconcellos that he is using red herrings like a conflict of interest. If he is so confident he should not worry about who appears.”
However, today Datadin showed Guyana Standard the defence filed by Hughes, Fields and Stoby on behalf of the Chronicle. It was signed by Hughes. Datadin explained, “No one signs the defence unless he or she will be representing the client.”
He added, “I am disappointed that Mr. Hughes would say that he is not directly involved and that his office is handling the matter when he is the person who signed the defence. It is a bit strange that despite a clear request from Mr. Shuman, Mr. Hughes insists on representing Chronicle in these circumstances.
Datadin continued, “My client is firm that Mr., Hughes performed functions for him as his attorney at law on matters that are directly related to this case and he (Hughes) is therefore estopped from representing the Chronicle Newspapers against Mr. Shuman on the same issues.”