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Attorney for ex-LPG importers urges ‘urgency’ of applications before Court

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Posted: Wednesday, May 13, 2020. 1:12 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Far from a personal issue, attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd says she and her clients are at the ‘mercy’ of the justice system.

After losing the case for an interim injunction at the Court of Appeal, they are awaiting the reasons for judgment to seek special leave for appeal to the Caribbean Court of Justice. They are also awaiting the hearing of the constitutional claim before the Supreme Court.

As a professional, Matura says, she needs the reasoning to give her clients the best advice: “I can’t just assume I have basis to appeal and rush and go and seek leave to appeal, waste my clients’ money, waste the court’s time, and then there is no basis and may end up paying costs because then I have to notify the other side.”

Indirectly referring to the twin letters lecturing her last week about speaking out of turn, Matura says she must wait (and there is no indication of how long that is) because that is the professional thing to do and she has no personal stake.

As for the Supreme Court case, Matura maintains that even with the current circumstances, the Civil Procedure Rules make clear that a first hearing of a constitutional challenge is concerned urgent (her case was filed in early April.)

Asked whether the delay has to do with the slowdown of activity over COVID-19 or general court malaise, Matura explained that many of the cases before the court have been adjourned or postponed, but cases such as hers are considered urgent because there is nothing more important than determining whether someone’s constitutional rights are being violated: “Tell me, how this issue which is a priority cannot be put at the top, even where the average case is bogging [down] and clogging the system; constitutional matters, as of law, principle, convention, protocol, right is given priority, so we are awaiting our date.”

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