KINGSTON — Attorney-at-law, Anthony Levy, accused the FINSAC Commission of Enquiry of acting unconstitutionally, in barring debtors without legal representation, from questioning witnesses from financial institutions at the enquiry.
Mr. Levy made the remark, as the enquiry was about to take its luncheon break, during the testimony of former FINSAC Managing Director and current Group Managing Director of the National Commercial Bank (NCB), Patrick Hylton.
He noted that while many debtors attending the sittings wanted to ask questions of witnesses like Mr. Hylton, they were not allowed to do so by the Commission, because they had no legal representation. He accused the Commission of imposing a limitation on the debtors, which was unconstitutional.
“You are imposing a burden on the debtors which is unconstitutional. They have a right to ask. This is a public commission of enquiry.
But, chairman of the enquiry, Worrick Bogle, refused to budged, insisting that the questions would not be allowed from the debtors, but through their lawyers.
“This commission has a right to decide on procedures…That is one of the things that we will not (change)… Persons through their attorneys may ask the witnesses questions, but we will not allow questions from debtors without passing their questions through their attorneys,” the chairman said.
Mr. Levy said the Commission did have a right to make procedures, but the procedures must be “fair”.
He offered that any debtor with questions to be asked of Mr. Hylton, or any future witnesses, to pass him them to him, and he would ask them in cross-examination, without any charge to them.
“If they write out their questions, give me their names, I will say I represent them, and I will ask the questions appropriately, at no charge to these people. Justice must not only be done, it must manifestly appear to be done, and it is not being done with these restrictions imposed by the commission on witnesses to ask questions,” Mr. Levy told the media during the break.
By BALFORD HENRY, JIS Reporter & Editor