Monday, August 3rd, 2015. Aaron Humes Reporting: On Friday Supreme Court Justice Courtney Abel issued his decision in writing on the claim made by Government attorney Rodwell Williams that his opponent,
Audrey Matura-Shepherd, violated the terms of the mediation agreement between the Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Association (BGYEA) and Government by speaking prematurely to the press.
She contended through attorney Godfrey Smith that breach of confidentiality only applies to other court proceedings, not public pronouncements. However, Justice Abel found her liable and ordered a payment of $3,000.
On the eve of settling the BGYEA case after mediation, Matura-Shepherd granted multiple press interviews outlining the resolution, apparently going against the rules of confidentiality in mediation cases.
In a portion of his 15 page judgment, Justice Abel says, quote, “Indeed I consider the conduct of Mrs. Matura Shepherd without any redeeming quality; and… Mrs. Matura Shepherd’s conduct suggests that she could not have looked at or have had any regard to the rules, as her conduct suggest(s) a wanton disregard to any notion of confidentiality…such conduct even suggest(s) a deliberate and flagrant,
even contumacious flouting of such rules by such a breach of its confidentiality provision as to be unimaginable by a responsible Counsel, and an officer of the court…as it borders on contempt of this court’s connected mediation process…”
And that’s not all. Justice Abel adds, quote, ” the only possible benefit that could be gained from it, as far as I could discern, very unhappily, was self-publicity…, as the content and circumstances of such disclosure, it seems to me, tended to undermine even her client’s own interest in satisfactorily concluding a final agreement with the GOB which was still being worked out at the time of such publication…”
Matura-Shepherd has declined all comment and Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith who represented her told 7 News, “We will discuss it with our client and consider the merits of an appeal”.
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