British Virgin Islands

Sunday, Aug 01, 2021

Speaker chides CoI for missing document in lawyer’s bundle

Speaker chides CoI for missing document in lawyer’s bundle

Speaker of the Virgin Islands (VI) House of Assembly (HoA), Hon Julian Willock has chided the United Kingdom (UK) sponsored VI Commission of Inquiry for documents found missing from the bundle supplied to his lawyer.

Hon Willock was at the time appearing before the CoI hearing Day 14 this afternoon, June 18, 2021.

Missing documents


While answering questions before the commission, it was brought to the attention of the Commissioner, Sir Gary R. Hickinbottom QC, that documents being referred to during the hearing was missing for the CoI supplied document bundle to lawyers representing the Speaker.

Silk Legal Attorney, Richard G. Rowe, representing the Speaker at the hearing and in a direct query to the Commissioner, said, “The bundle we received… did not include these documents.”

Attorney Rowe then inquired on whether documents referenced to by CoI Counsel, Bilal Rawat would have supplementary documents or whether it was an omission.

Commissioner refusing to admit error


The Speaker then suggested that it could be that the CoI might have made an error as ‘people make mistakes, all the time, people are late with documents all the time’ as seen in the CoI.

Commissioner Hickenbottom, in response, then indicated to the Speaker, “But some errors are more important than others, this error isn’t important at all…” which promoted a response by the Speaker.

The Speaker, in a striking rebuke, then brought into question how the CoI can have missing documents and make mistakes; however, witnesses cannot.

“I can’t believe you sit there and say that is not important… my lawyer is given a bundle with documents missing, and you don’t see that as important?,” Hon Willock asked the Commissioner.

Commissioner’s views speak ‘Volumes’ – Speaker Willock


He continued, “It speaks volumes about this process Commissioner, and you're going to have to convince this country that you have a transparent process [and] it’s not a fishing exercise.”

“You’re going to have to convince this country that you have a transparent process and it's not a fishing exercise,” the Speaker emphasised.

Hon Willock further chided the CoI and the one-man Commissioner about how it can be right for the Commission to have missing documents, but in the case of witnesses to have missing documents, they are held accountable.

Integrity of CoI bright into question


It should be noted that Commissioner Hickinbottom could not say why the document was missing for the bundle supplied to the lawyers representing the Speaker.

According to Hon Willock, for the CoI Commissioner to not see it as important that his Inquiry is provided bundles with missing documents, it “speaks volumes to transparency, and ethics and integrity.”

Hon Julian Willock was at the time speaking at the CoI hearing Day 14 this afternoon, June 18, 2021.


Silk Legal Attorney Rowe G. Rowe has inquired on whether documents referenced to by CoI Council, Bilal Rawat would have supplementary documents or whether it was an omission from his bundle.

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