Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Senior Counsel Shalimar Ali-Hack has filed an action in the High Court asking for an order striking out a defamation lawsuit filed by Senior Magistrate Alex Moore for in excess of $50M in damages.
In the legal document seen by Guyana Standard, the DPP contends that the lawsuit discloses no reasonable ground for bringing the claim. Further, she argues that the case is an abuse of the court process, scandalous, vexatious and frivolous.
Magistrate Moore through his lawyer, Arudranauth Gossai, last month filed a defamation lawsuit against Ali-Hack from a letter which was sent to the Acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Yonette Cummings Edwards, and Acting Chief Justice, Roxane George captioned: “Re: Conduct of Magistrate Alex Moore in the charge of the Police vs. Marcus Bisram for the offence of murder, Contrary to Common Law.”
Besides, it is stated that the letter contained the word “malice” before the claimant taking up duties in Berbice. The claimant indicated that Ali-Hack made false statements of him when he was a sitting Magistrate at the Sparendaam Court. In fact, the claimant said that the Police Commissioner was requested to send all files from the claimant’s court to the defendant since “he is doing things that he has no authority to do.”
Moreover, Magistrate Moore outlined in the court document that the DPP is said to have wrongly accused him of dismissing cases even though the majority of witnesses were present.
He also noted that the DPP claimed that he was abusing his powers by instituting fines instead of imprisonment.
Concerning the letter referencing “Marcus Bisram,” DPP’s Ali-Hack has been pushing to have Bisram committed to stand trial for the murder of carpenter Fayaz Narinedatt.
Bisram was accused of ordering the death of Narinedatt between October 31 and November 1, 2016. On March 7, 2017, an arrest warrant was issued for the US-based Guyanese, who was overseas at the time.
The warrant was issued on the allegation that Bisram instructed five other men – Harri Paul Parsram, Radesh Motie, Niran Yacoob, Diodath Datt, and Orlando Dickie – to kill Narinedatt because the carpenter rejected Bisram’s sexual advances towards him.
The five men have since been committed to stand trial in the High Court for the murder. However, the charges against Bisram have been dismissed. Yet, after the charge was dismissed, Ali-Hack had ordered the Magistrate, who dismissed the charge, to commit Bisram to face a trial in the High Court.
This led to him being rearrested. That committal was recently quashed by High Court Judge Simone Morris-Ramlall, who ruled that there was insufficient evidence to continue the charge against him. As such, he was freed.
In her grounds for the application, the DPP stated that “the Defendant is the head of the Prosecutorial arm of the State of Guyana, that is, she is the Director of Public Prosecution for and in the State of Guyana.”
As such, Ali-Hack contends that Magistrate Moore sued her in her personal capacity, instead of in her office as Director of Public Prosecutions.
Among other things, the DPP said, her report to the Chancellor, who is also Chairman of the Judicial Service Commission contained allegations of misconduct against Magistrate Moore, in his professional responsibility and not in his private capacity and were capable of being investigated by the Chancellor to invoke the disciplinary procedures set out in the Judicial Service Commission Rules.
Further, she argues that Magistrate Moore’s case is contrary to public policy by seeking through defamatory claims to intimidate or prevent the process of complaints against the conduct of Magistrates, and particularly concerning disciplinary considerations by members of the Judicial Service Commission of the actions of any member of the Magistracy, including him.
Despite this backdrop, she asks the High Court to strike out the whole Statement of Claim with costs awarded and such further or other reliefs the court deems just.
Representing the DPP are Senior Counsel Robin Stoby, former Solicitor General Kim Kyte-Thomas, and lawyer Jamela Ali.