Renowned Lawyer Facing Contempt Of Court Charge
Popular Mandeville-based attorney-at-law Norman Godfrey found himself on the other side of the law last Friday when the judge presiding over his cases in the Manchester Circuit Court ordered that he be taken into custody for contempt of court.
According to reports, three of Godfrey’s clients had their bails revoked in his absence, with no apparent just cause for such an action to be taken with at least two of the three individuals.
Godfrey, upon his return to court, made enquires about the bail revocation that would run, not to the end of Circuit, but to various dates in 2019, and made an application for the bails to be restored.
However, Justice Georgiana Frazer refused his application and ordered that Godfrey be taken into custody for contempt of court.
Having been moved to the prisoner’s bench, Godfrey was later called up by Justice Frazer and asked why he should not be charged for contempt.
With a team of lawyers, led by Queen’s Counsel Velma Hylton, Godfrey appeared before the Circuit Court yesterday but had his matter transferred to the Home Circuit Court for a hearing on Wednesday, December 19.
According to Hylton, in order to advise their client properly, the team would need a transcript of what transpired in court on the day in question (October 26) but was refused this access when Justice Frazer requested that the transcript, originally submitted to the team on a flash drive, be returned.
Frazer suggested that the proper procedure had not been observed for transcript requests and admitted that she had, in fact, ordered its return.
An attorney from Godfrey’s team revealed the assumption to be incorrect as according to the guidelines of the Judicature Supreme Court’s Act, the request was submitted to the shorthand writer and the need for payment, if it was applicable in this case, would have been observed.
Hylton alluded to a similar case of a Caribbean national who went to the Privy Council, where information was made readily accessible. She further questioned why her team was denied the same right, saying that this was compromising her client’s fair trial.
“As it were, we are in the dark. We do not know what happened in court, and unless we get a transcript, we cannot properly advise our client,” Hylton stated.
Justice Frazer, who interrupted the QC several times to declare that some of the concerns being shared by counsel were “not my business”, quickly adjourned the matter and made note of the new date for the hearing.