Attorneys-at-Law Roysdale Forde and Mursalene Bacchus have both filed Affidavits in defense of a challenge by Attorney-at-Law Timothy Jonas, who has moved to the High Court to have their appointments as Senior Counsel which were made by former President David Granger, quashed.
Jonas, among other things, is seeking an Order of Certiorari to be directed to the Attorney General to quash the decision by the former President to appoint Attorneys-at-Law Jameela Ali, Roysdale Forde, Mursalene Bacchus and Stanley Moore as Senior Counsel.
Jonas is contending that the former President, in making the appointments acted outside of his realm, since the appointment of Senior Counsel lies within the inherent discretion of the High Court of the Supreme Court of Judicature. He is also contending that there is no statutory or other power conferred on the President to make any decision to appoint Attorneys-at-Law to the dignity of Senior Counsel.
Jonas’ application came up for hearing this morning before High Court Judge Nareshwar Harnanan. During the virtual hearing, Forde and Bacchus were added as parties, and were granted permission for their Affidavits in Support to be treated as Affidavits in Defence. Moore, who made an oral application, was also added as a party and was granted leave to file an Affidavit in Defence on or before September 22, 2020.
Thereafter, Jonas’ lawyer, Teni Housty who is also President of the Guyana Bar Association, was granted 28 days to file written submissions, on or before October 06, 2020. The Attorney General and added parties, Forde, Bacchus and Moore, were instructed to file written submissions within 14 days after receipt of Jonas’ submissions, on or before October 20, 2020. Jonas has seven days to respond, or or before October 27, 2020.
The case comes up for another hearing on October 28, 2020; each party has been allotted 15 minutes to expand on any point advanced in their submissions.
In his grounds in support of his application, Jonas says that the status of Senior Counsel is fundamentally important to the legal practitioner, both within the legal fraternity by virtue of the courtesies extended to Senior Counsel by the judiciary and the Bar at large, and in the public domain, by public perception of the professional standard of legal service.
According to him, on December 31, 2019, the former President communicated to the public via the website page published by the Ministry of the Presidency his purported decision to appoint Forde, Ali, Moore and Bacchus as Senior Counsel, and that the appointments would be effective from January 2020. Jonas argues that the former President’s decision was entirely void and of no effect.
“Insofar as the President, a member of the executive, purports to make a decision within the province of the inherent discretion of the High Court, his trespass into the realm of the judiciary violates Article 122 of the Constitution of Guyana, and is illegal and void,” he further argues.