Who is representing Patrick Lovelace?
From the Courts
June 19, 2009
Who is representing Patrick Lovelace?

After much debate at the High Court earlier this week between defence and prosecution as to who represents murder accused Patrick Lovelace in his re-trial, veteran attorney Bayliss Frederick was appointed counsel.{{more}}

Frederick, who was present at the start of the trial on Monday, June 15, indicated to the court that he was only appearing at the trial because he was summoned to appear against his wishes. He noted that it was Trinidadian counsel, Shariz Aziz, who was representing Lovelace, who has been charged with the 2002 murder of 12-year-old Lokeisha Nanton. Aziz was, however, not present in court. “I have appeared on several occasions and the case never came through because of postponements,” noted Frederick. The attorney told the court that it was Justice Gertel Thom who assigned Aziz to the matter in September 2008.

In an article published in SEARCHLIGHT on Tuesday, May 8, 2009, Lovelace told a judge on May 5, at the arraignment stages of the Criminal Assizes, that he did not know the whereabouts of his attorney Aziz. Another counsel had to hold for Lovelace in the interim, as no lawyer was present. Furthermore, Director of Public Prosecutions, Colin Williams, went on record as saying that the matter was brought up for trial on three previous occasions and no attorneys were present.

Frederick further pointed out that he only represented Lovelace at the first trial in 2005, after which a re-trial was ordered at the Appeal Court the following year. It was then, Frederick said, that Aziz took over duties from him to represent Lovelace. “This is an abuse of process, My Lordship. I have never seen such a thing in my years of practice,” Frederick stated.

Presiding Judge, Frederick Bruce-Lyle, interjected immediately and told Frederick’s that the matter was assigned to Fredericks Chambers. “I want to know where is Mr Aziz and who assigned the matter to him?” asked Justice Bruce-Lyle. It was heard that since Aziz was appearing alongside the Chambers of Frederick, he was put on the case.

In his response, the DPP alerted the court of a letter, signed by Frederick, which had been forwarded to his offices a few weeks before the trial date, which indicated that he (Frederick) wanted the matter to convene during the week of the court of appeal. Standing immediately, Frederick refuted the DPP’s claim that he had written to him (Williams) concerning the Lovelace matter. “I don’t know who wrote the letter. If a piece of correspondence leaves my office with my name on it, doesn’t mean I wrote it,” Frederick added.

Armed with three pieces of correspondence, the DPP showed that on May 20, 2009, a list of the matters on the short-list was circulated, including the Lovelace matter.

The second letter, dated May 22, 2009, was received at the DPP’s office at 4:05pm and addressed to the Williams directly. The DPP showed the court that the letter bore the letterhead of Fredericks Attorneys and was signed by J.H Bayliss Frederick. The letter said, “Dear Sir, we write to you in relation of Patrick Lovelace trial. We would be grateful if you can confirm that the trial would commence on or around June 22, 2009. We urge your urgent assistance and we ask that you communicate by letter and fax in the matter of urgency…” the DPP read.

In his response, in a letter dated May 25, 2009, Williams said he sent the correspondence by fax, email and hand delivery to Frederick’s office. Williams’ letter said he could not grant Frederick that date for the commencement of the trial. Williams also expressed his dissatisfaction at the defense not having counsel present at the two most recent arraignments of the matter. “The crown has never once requested an adjournment in this matter. We have had objections on various occasions from the defence and each time they are not ready.

On taking a close look at the letter addressed to the DPP, Fredericks said that the signature appeared to be his signature.

To help clarify the matter, Registrar of the High Court, Tamara Gibson-Marks, brought to the court’s attention that in September 2008, Aziz approached her to be assigned as counsel in the Queen versus Patrick Lovelace. She mentioned that it is not the usual for the court to assign overseas counsel to such matters. As a result, Aziz, who was a part of the Chambers of Frederick Attorneys, was assigned to the case on that basis for re-trial purposes.

Justice Bruce-Lyle then ordered that Aziz be withdrawn from the matter and Frederick was assigned as counsel.(KW)