Scott & Moniz On Statements To Parliament

June 25, 2015

Attorney-General Trevor Moniz  has “given inaccurate and untruthful information” to Parliament and he should “tender his resignation,” Shadow Attorney-General Michael Scott said, while Mr Moniz said the “Opposition is being mischievous in selectively quoting my words”.

 Shadow Attorney-General Michael Scott’s Comments

Mr Scott said, “President of the Bermuda Bar Council, Mr. Richard Horseman, is on record as saying, ‘While Bar Council is in general support of the Attorney-General’s push to modernise the criminal justice system, some of the specific proposals being put forward by the Attorney-General are a cause for concern.”

“The President concludes ‘Bar Council wishes to reiterate that it supports all attempts by the Government to modernise our criminal justice system but there are certain proposals that Bar Council does not support in its current form.”

“Additionally, Ms. Venous Memari, in an open letter to the Senate President, has asked for this legislation to be rejected, “as certain measures within the Bills erode the fundamental rights of the citizen.”

“The Attorney-General, Mr. Moniz, will follow the fate of first OBA Attorney General to resign, in the face of his having given inaccurate and untruthful information to Parliament. On the Hansard record, page 23, dated June 5 the Attorney-General stated:

“Trevor G. Moniz: Yes. The Bar and Defence Bar have been fully consulted. I have certainly been told repeatedly by the immediate past President, Justin Williams, that these reforms have the Bar’s full support. I have been told by the new President, Richard Horseman, that they have the Bar’s full support.

Audio excerpt of the Attorney-General speaking in the House on June 5th

“The Attorney-General’s statement left the Members of Parliament and the listening public to conclude that the President of the Bar and immediate past President, and the wider membership, supported the two Bills,” continued Mr Scott.

“The Attorney-General deliberately misled Parliament by his words, “I have been told by new President Richard Horseman that they [the reforms] have the Bar’s full support.”

“The President of the Bar Council’s statement is clear where he says “…but there are certain proposals that Bar Council does not support in its current form.”

“The two statements are diametrically opposed on any analysis of the statements.

“As Shadow Attorney-General, I say that the Attorney-General’s Statements in the House amount to a serious breach of the Rules of Parliament and Clause [V] of the Ministerial Code of Conduct.

“That clause provides, “It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament , correcting any inadvertent errors at the earliest opportunity . Ministers who knowingly mislead Parliament will be expected to offer their resignations to the Premier.”

“It has been 23 days since the untruthful statement was made to the House and no attempt to correct the record has been made by the Attorney General. Rather we have learned that the AG has elected to devote inordinate levels of energies trying to salvage the unconstitutional Law Reform Bills.

“The actions of the Attorney General are gravely concerning and are contrary to the high standards required of him of upholding of the integrity of Parliament and Justice generally. He has but one choice, and that is to follow Rule Five of the Code of Conduct and tender his resignation,” Mr Scott concluded.

 Attorney-General Trevor Moniz’s Comments

In response, Attorney-General Trevor Moniz said, “The Opposition is being mischievous in selectively quoting my words.

“During the course of Parliamentary debate on our criminal reform bills, I rose on a point of order to clarify misplaced concerns about there being no consultation with the Bar.

“At that time, I stated to the House the substance of conversations I had had with Justin Williams, the immediate past president of the Bar, and Richard Horseman, the current president.

“At the same time, I also said that the Bar had provided me with a lengthy report, which had a number of objections in it.

“The appropriate quote from the Hansard is as follows:

“Hon. Trevor G. Moniz: Yes. The Bar and Defence Bar have been fully consulted. I have certainly been told repeatedly by the immediate past President, Justin Williams, that these reforms have the Bar’s full support.

I have been told by the new President, Richard Horseman, that they have the Bar’s full support. The Defence Bar did submit a lengthy report, which did have a number of objections in it; I think it was a 25- or 26-page report prepared by, I think, Elizabeth Christopher and Susan Mulligan. We tried to, where we could, take on board suggestions which were put by them.

The last one I would like to make is that this does not in any way touch upon the presumption of innocence. It does not change that. It does not change the right to silence. So, thank you.”

“It is also worth noting the statements of support I have received in respect of my efforts to improve the Criminal Justice system.

“The Bar association stated in its written submissions to the Ministry dated 18 March 2015 in the following terms: ‘Bar Council and the Criminal Sub-Committee supports the view that improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the administration of the criminal justice system is to be commended ..’

“The Centre for Justice stated in their letter to Senators dated 23 June 2015: ‘We wish to associate ourselves with the Bermuda Bar Association’s [“the Bermuda Bar”], support for any reform that is aimed at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the administration of the criminal justice system.”

“Certainly, both then went on to cite particular objections. I have repeatedly acknowledged those objections, particularly as they related to the constitutionality of the reforms in question. However, I do not agree with them.

“The Shadow Minister’s statement is part of a campaign of misinformation. This is the clearest example of the politics of personal attack.

“Let me take this opportunity to reiterate that I am satisfied our criminal reform bills are constitutional.

“I am trying to fix a broken system. As the Honorable Chief Justice said in 2013:

“The financial cost of this system threatens its long-term existence. Some of these costs can be curtailed if the criminal trial process is modernised to reduce the length of criminal trials where this can be justly achieved. With the support of the new Parliament, it is hoped that new Criminal Procedure Rules will be brought into force in the first quarter of this year.

This represents a first step towards empowering the Court to manage cases with a view to increased efficiency without diluting fairness. Primary legislation is however required to empower the courts to make costs orders against parties who flout court directions, to compel the prosecution to give adequate disclosure, to require the defence to give disclosure and to abolish preliminary inquiries.”

“In addition to the Defence Bar, these reforms have undergone consultation with the judges of the Supreme Court, the Magistrates, the Department of Public Prosecutions and the Bermuda Police Service. Suggestions have been provided; many have been incorporated but not all.

“In addition, I have been approached by many victims of crime and their families concerned about how long it has taken for their cases to make their way through the courts. They have decried adjournments and delays.

“Government is pleased that the overwhelming majority of relevant stakeholders support the legislation, and we expect the Bermudian public to do so as well. The Government has answered calls for reform and delivered far-reaching proposals.

“As Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, I am here to serve the people of Bermuda. The ultimate objective of this process is to improve the criminal justice system in Bermuda, and we must not lose sight of this,” added Mr Moniz.

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Comments (21)

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  1. Trulytruly says:

    I see the OBA govt are finally fighting back with a reasoned strong defense. Like many, I am very pleased to see this change of tact. The accusations although groundless, unless challenged, can take root and distract from more important matters.

    The plp now want, Comprensive Immigration Reform, Comprehensive Health Care Reform and Comprehensive Legal Reform. They had there chance to dictate the agenda when in power. Somehow these issues were not high enough in their agenda to make it to the top. To twist people’s words and ask for resignations gets the plp nowhere on this issue.

    • Shadow Minister Michael Scott Sir, as you can attest to, I’ve known you for several decades, as a matter of fact since you’d started working along with the late, (Attorney) Julian Hall out of the offices he had in the Emporium Building.
      Over several decades I have always held you on the highest esteem; one can say, “you being a just individual” Yet this latest charade, it’s out of character and unacceptable. Please, cease being influenced by others and do what’s right and stop attempting to “hoodwink” them that know better…

      • BETTTY says:

        @Raymond Ray Stop it…..u are blindfaithfulness OBAER and would support whatever the OBA position is right or wrong…..take sometime to examine the Facts carefully……please…

        I suggest you go back and carefully re-read the details and plot out the facts carefully. It will be come a little bit clearer in your fuzziness that MP Moniz is fighting for his life on this issue. ……it is clear that he was mis-leading the house and now is cherry picking to spin himself out of it.

        OBA’S PR team are working hard twisting facts. …..it was clear the Bar Association did not agree if they did why go on TV Monday night and hold a show with the support of the Center for Justice……it was spelled out clearly on that show by the lawyers themselves. The Legal Minds indicated they were not in agreement. ….of thus Bill in full

        The OBA knows it’s wrong, thus the delay of bringing the bill to the Senate for debate and approval. The OBA stopped the Bill due to the the Legal Community concerns and the fact they were clearly not in agreement with it. …..really….

        ….please stop the OBA Spin……More importantly DO NOT ALLOW THE SENATE TO PASS THIS wrong BILL. …which takes away folks human rights……

        This is a Real Human Rights issue

    • Fancy words for LIYING

  2. hmmm says:

    Scott , you just justified why you need to leave.

    Moniz has independent evidence of what was said and you are guilty of your own accusation and therefore should level your prescribed recourse on yourself.

    Goodbye Scott.

    Please ensure you make a public statement apologizing to Moniz. It’s the honourable and polite thing to do.

  3. aceboy says:

    PLPathetic.

  4. Unbelievable says:

    Yeah see the PLP are engaged in twisting the words of the OBA. You’d think it was Michael Weeks making this statement against the OBA.

  5. Terry says:

    Young and The Restless.

  6. Need Peace says:

    Apparently none of you bloggers bothered to listen to the audio. It is even transcribed! Nothing is taken out of context. Minister Moniz is trying to put a spin on it. Must be the lawyer in him!

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      Both are trying to spin, but there is nothing there that suggests Minister Moniz was misleading; he may have exaggerated by saying ‘full support’, but he also stated that the Bar had raised objections. It is ridiculous for Mr. Scott to demand a resignation over this unless he can explain why he didn’t call for Dr. Brown’s resignation over the smuggling of Uighars into Bermuda, in violation of our laws and constitution, or for the resignation of the MP’s involved in the immoral Bermuda Housing Corporations transaction.

  7. Need Peace says:

    Minister Moniz said that they give their full support. Anyone care to Google Full Support!!!!

    • Sad says:

      Guess you don’t know how to read either.

      As he said the bar supports the much needed reform and then acknowledges the objections in the bar letter.

      It is right above in black and white for you and in the Hansard. No spin needed.

      Reading is key my friend.

    • That which was mentioned in the audio was, “a selected statement” In other words, an incomplete statement which had been made by the Attorney General Trevor Moniz. Take time out to read the full / complete response made by the A.G. Trevor Moniz…
      Whoever you are,”Need Peace” you’re barking up the wrong tree, and yes, “we need peace.”

  8. Tiger too says:

    Scott. Your credibility has been eroded, but on reflection your fellow party members was never high either. I would have to question if I w

  9. Need Peace says:

    @Sad – understanding what you read is the key! Moniz probably threw those words in knowing the key words “Full Support” would do the trick! In my opinion! This reminds me of the Pied Piper!

  10. 1 minute says:

    Is anyone else bored of politicans starting their fight with their opponent with the statement that they should resign? Politicians need to start working for the greater good of Bermuda.

  11. watchmen says:

    Yes yes here we go again attacking the messenger and failing to comprehend the message. Many fine “interpreters” of the law have come to the conclusion that these amendments constitute a direct violation of our human rights at a constitutional level. This potentially affects us all weather you are on team green or team red. I have not seen anyone on here speak to that point. By not speaking to it I am compelled to believe you support the measures and are therefore in support of this attempt at tyranny as well.

  12. JUNK YARD DOG says:

    FACT : BERMUDA IS UNDER UTILIZING ALL OF ITS RESOURCES.

    All talk and no do,this pace does not operate like a well oiled machine.

    There is a long list of sort comings, just to name a few ,the very worst is :-

    TIME WASTING.
    INEFFICIENCY.
    SWINGING THE LEAD;
    RED TAPE :

    Bermuda need to step up to the plate. Money Management; Debt Management; Land management, buildings management; parks management; Traffic management. Roads management. THE CROW LANE DISASTER.

    Accountability and efficiency are meaning less words, it is all going on under your noses,it all boils down to poor management.

    EG : Why does it take me all morning to re license my car
    at the T.C.D.

    Processing our visitors takes for ever.

    Paget traffic lights “hold up” what a gross waste of time .

  13. Legal Eagle says:

    The only objecting comments in the Bar’s response were by a SMALL Sub-Commitee(4)! ALL 4 are Criminal Defence lawyers with an obvous vested interest to keep laws slanted in favour of their clients! Don’t be fooled by that few just because they make the most noise! That’s what Criminal Defence lawyers DO!!!

    • watchmen says:

      So you are not for the defense (public or private) of those deemed innocent until proven guilty? Of course it would be the Criminal defense lawyers that would object – much in the same way the prosecution salivates at yet another measure fabricated/created to erode Bermudian rights!I applaud the few and deride the many in this case.