No-show witness in Jagdeo libel suit costs plaintiff legal fees

Raul Kissoon, witness for the plaintiff, in the libel case between former president Bharrat Jagdeo and Kaieteur News columnist Frederick Kissoon, yesterday failed to make his appearance, which caused the plaintiff to pay $20,000 each in legal fees for a wasted day to the two defence attorneys.

In addition, on the grounds of apparent wasting of the court’s time defence lawyers indicated that should the plaintiff fail to once again appear on the court’s next set date, April 16, they will move for the plaintiff’s lawyer to close his case.

At yesterday’s hearing the Office of the President Media Monitoring employee was scheduled to help the litigious side by presenting to the court, as evidence, an archived series of Kaieteur News columns written by Kissoon, in which he attempted to besmirch the character of the former Guyanese leader.

Defence attorney Nigel Hughes petitioned Justice Brassington Reynolds for the equivalent of his and defence attorney Christopher Ram’s court fees for the wasted day; an application that the high court judge ruled in favour of.

Reacting to the ruling, the plaintiff’s attorney, Bernard De Santos SC, said, “I find myself with my back against the ropes, so to speak.”

In granting the defence’s application, Justice Reynolds substantiated the reason for his ruling, while expressing his displeasure at the witness’s no show.

Jagdeo’s attorney, De Santos, could not give the court a definitive reason for the man’s absence but assumed that he was possibly ill. “I have not had personal contact with him or his employer. Mr Kissoon has not shown up for work today and I am unable to account for his whereabouts… I suspect that he is unwell,” was the explanation given by De Santos to the court.

In July of last year, Jagdeo, who was the president, filed the libel suit against Kissoon, Editor of the Kaieteur News Adam Harris and the paper’s owner Glenn  Lall over a June 28, 2010 article titled ‘King Kong sent his goons to disrupt the conference’,  which he claimed portrayed him as  an ideological racist.

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