AG: ‘In Process Of Obtaining Files’ On Lawsuits

August 1, 2017

[Updated] “There are no litigation files within the Attorney-General’s Chambers with respect to these matters,” Attorney-General Kathy Simmons said today, and as a “consequence of this highly irregular circumstance” she is “currently in the process of obtaining these files in order to review” the lawsuits against Lahey Clinic and in relation to the Port Royal Golf Course.

Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, Attorney-General Simmons said, “I have inherited from my predecessor Trevor Moniz, some very sensitive matters with ramifications for the integrity of the office of Attorney-General and the administration of justice as a whole.

“The nature of how these matters were being handled by the former Attorney-General is unprecedented and concerning as there are no litigation files within the Attorney-General’s Chambers with respect to these matters.

“As a consequence of this highly irregular circumstance, as Attorney-General, I am currently in the process of obtaining these files in order to review the lawsuits that have been brought in the name of the Attorney-General against Lahey Clinic and with regard to Trustees of the Port Royal Golf Course,” the Attorney-General continued.

“In particular, I have instructed counsel to obtain complete files from overseas counsel retained by the former Attorney-General regarding both matters. As of today, I am awaiting these files for review. I will subsequently advise the Government whether it ought to proceed with these matters, with the benefit of being fully briefed.

“I wish to point out that prior to my appointment as Attorney-General, the primary person having conduct of these matters was the former Attorney-General Trevor Moniz, assisted by his political consultant Richard Ambrosio; a junior barrister.

“In his capacity as Attorney-General, Trevor Moniz appears to have provided instructions to overseas counsel to the exclusion of other counsel in the Attorney-General Chambers, including the Solicitor General.

“At the conclusion of an objective assessment of these matters, a decision will be made in accordance with the Constitutional responsibilities of my office.

“The process I have undertaken will enable me to decide the way forward accordingly,” Attorney-General Simmons concluded.

Update 5.28pm: We asked for a response from Trevor Moniz, and an OBA spokesperson said, “Shadow Attorney-General Trevor Moniz is currently off island and will respond as soon as he is able.”

Update 7.46pm: Shadow Attorney-General Trevor Moniz said, “Contrary to the AG’s statement, there is nothing unusual about engaging external counsel to deal with certain matters and who hold files on behalf of the Government, especially in cases dealing with political corruption.

“In respect of Lahey, as the matter is being dealt with in the US courts, the litigation file is being held by Cooley’s office in Boston as they are the Attorneys of record on the matter.

“In respect of the Port Royal matter, during my time as AG, the litigation file was maintained by the Deputy Solicitor-General.

“I was working on 12 separate matters being investigated – of which, Lahey and Port Royal were only two. Any costs incurred related to all 12 cases. Furthermore, given that there are large amounts of evidence involved in these investigations, all other files have so far been kept by Cooley’s office in London. It was simply not practical for piles upon piles of paper to be printed and stored locally.

“All that the AG needed to do was pick up the phone and call her legal advisers at Cooley. I understand that she faces a steep learning curve given that she is new to dealing with cases of political corruption, which is why I made my earlier public offer to assist her. This offer remains open.”

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