Astaphan urges key players to testify
October 14, 2005
Astaphan urges key players to testify

Lawyers in the Ottley Hall Inquiry, Anthony Astaphan and Joseph Delves are urging the key players in the establishment of the Ottley Hall Marina and Shipyard to come forward and testify. Astaphan noted that persons who claim that they cannot remember, can get their memories refreshed from the commission since there are files.

He explained, “It would have not been a wide ranging thing, the interaction would have been between Dr. Rolla and Sir James Mitchell. The agreements would have been reduced into writing, you may not recall every single aspect of the discussion but we have tape recordings, video tape recordings of press conferences held by Sir James and the then Attorney General which have been tendered into evidence. {{more}}So they would be given the widest opportunity to refresh their memories.”

Astaphan stated that he would have expected more co-operation from persons invited to testify, since the highest official of the land, who is his Excellency Sir Frederick Ballantyne, instituted the proceedings.

The lawyer clarified that a person, who is summoned by the commission and refuses to testify, does so at his own risk. He noted that the commission has the authority to summon him or to issue him a summon letter and if he does not respond, then there are other options opened to the commissioner.

He emphasised, “You can do anything, but you refuse to answer the invitation at your own risk! Once you accept the invitation and you are questioned and it becomes clear that you did things which you ought not to have done, then the commission can re-summon you with a summons letter.”

Astaphan pointed out that this was where the commissioner could make findings and he would write the person with respect to the evidence brought against them. He said from there, they would be required to show cause by the Commission why findings should not be made against them.

Astaphan predicted that Sir James and other key players in the establishment of the Ottley Hall Marina and Shipyard may get a summons letter asking them to show cause why findings should not be made against them.

He divulged, “The commission will be very happy to hear what Sir James Mitchell has to say in relation to these matters and we have not yet heard from Joachim, Dr.Rolla and we intend to do all that is necessary to get Dr. Rolla to comply with us. If he does not, he does so at his on risk.”

He advised that the persons called to testify seek legal council, “Sir James has already consulted council, Mr Ramesh Maharaj has already written us. One would assume he’s listening and is in regular consultation with Mr. Maharaj. It would be obvious to him that he either come forward or await his summons or summons letter and be ready to testify. But that if he needs anything, let the record be clear we would give him whatever he needs. Or any other intended witness.”

The investigations are still continuing into the proceedings with a special look into the offences under the common law, including the question of mis-behaviour of public office.