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Saturday, Aug 13, 2022

Speaker withdraws injunction; now taking legal action against AG

Speaker withdraws injunction; now taking legal action against AG

Speaker of the House of Assembly, Julian Willock has withdrawn his court injunction against three Commission of Inquiry (COI) attorneys and will now be going after Attorney General (AG), Dawn Smith.
Willock’s injunction sought to block the COI trio from continuing legal work for the Commission unless and until they’ve been called to the BVI Bar. However, the presiding judge in the matter, Justice Adrian Jack, ruled that Willock has “no general power of public authorities to obtain such injunctions” and will therefore need the AG’s permission to move forward with the matter.

In a ZBVI interview today, the Speaker’s attorney, Richard Rowe from Silk Legal indicated that his client wrote to AG Smith asking for urgent permission, which he needed ahead of the court hearing this week.

“The Speaker wrote to the Attorney General asking her to respond within a certain time. She gave no response to his letter, we are instructed,” Rowe stated.

“Given the understanding of Justice Jack’s order, we — on our client’s direction — withdrew the application,” the Speaker’s attorney added.

Under law, the Attorney General was the person to appoint the three COI attorneys in the first place. But considering that she voiced her belief that the trio should have sought to be called to the BVI Bar before commencing work for the COI, Willock is now seeking to nullify her appointment of the three COI lawyers.

“We will be taking an action against the Attorney General for a declaration from the court that her appointment of these persons to the COI, before they have been admitted to the Bar, is void. It should never have happened so it should be treated as void,” Rowe stated.

The COI attorneys in question — Bilal Rawat, Rhea Harrikissoon, Andrew King — retroactive applied to practice law in the BVI months after commencing their work for the Inquiry.

Rowe has described this action as criminal since it breaches the territory’s Legal Professions Act.

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