Categorized | National News

Judge Rules Against Minister

Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald may have to pay a hefty fine of $150,000 after being found in breach of constitutional rights of environmental group Save The Bays (STB).

The Cabinet minister has made it clear however that he will be pushing for an appeal, which was handed down by Supreme Court Justice Indra Charles.

The ruling comes after Mr. Fitzgerald read the groups’ private emails along with financial information in Parliament some months back.

Yesterday, the media spoke to Mr. Fitzgerald, who said he had seen the court’s ruling and is interested to find out on what basis the court found that he attained information illegally.

“I maintained all along that I have not any information illegally. I want to read the judgment to see what evidence was put forth by those who brought the claim,” he said.

“It’s difficult for me to understand how they came to the conclusion they did. It just seems to me that it’s been a lot of trouble and money spent to keep me quiet and it’s going to be interesting to see the reasons behind all of that.”

Mr. Fitzgerald for months held onto the claim that the group destabilize the government.

The group had for months argued that Mr. Fitzgerald invaded its privacy after releasing private emails in the House of Assembly.

Along with the $150,000 fine, Justice Charles imposed a permanent injunction, which would prohibit him from releasing additional private information with STB’s consent.

“I’ve made my point clear that I’ve said what I had to say,” Minister Fitzgerald said.

“Obviously all the orders were stayed by the attorneys in the Attorney General’s Office and so it’s being appealed and we will see where it goes from there.”

Save the Bays Director Fred Mitchell said the group is happy with the outcome.

“I’m very grateful that the Supreme Court had reaffirmed the rule of law once again,” STB legal director said.

“The courts are supreme in The Bahamas not parliamentarians. We have the constitution, and the constitution, trumps politics.

“What it will do is also send a clear message to the international financial world that has been waiting for this judgment. What it means is that the Government of The Bahamas cannot hack into your emails, or get them somehow and when you challenge them they don’t explain how they got them. What this will do is help to prevent the financial services industry.”

Mr. Fitzgerald has been ordered to destroy all material within 14 days.

Save The Bays also took legal action against MP for Fox Hill Fred Mitchell.

However, the court did not find him in breach of any constitutional rights.









Written by Jones Bahamas

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