The recent decision handed down by a high court judge in the Kenroy Samuel matter should be looked at in detail by the Executive Members of the Grenada Bar Association (GBA).
The bar has a serious responsibility to uphold the integrity of this noble profession in Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique in every aspect.
The decision of high court judge, Justice Margaret Mohammed to order the Registrar of the Supreme Court to strike out the name of Mr. Samuel, as one who is qualified to practice in the local courts should not be seen as an end in itself.
It matters not at this stage that the Antiguan-born Samuel might file an appeal to get a stay in the execution of the order of Justice Mohammed.
If the Registrar has already moved to strike out Samuel’s name and it is now not on the list of approved attorneys – what effect can an appeal has at this stage in putting the name of Kenroy Samuel back on the list?
The GBA and its President, Ruggles Ferguson now have a huge responsibility to protect the public in the face of the high court ruling against one of their colleagues in the profession.
As it stands right now, Mr. Samuel cannot go before any Magistrate or judge to defend any of the persons who had retained him to make legal representation on their behalf in our law courts.
The question that naturally arises – is what will the GBA do to make sure that those unfortunate persons would get back their monies from Mr. Samuel and not lose all of it?
It is not a simple case as saying to the people that they took a chance and it is now up to them to see how they can get back their retainer fees from the controversial attorney who can no longer practice in our law courts.
The GBA needs to issue a statement to clear the air on this very important issue since it touches on a very important aspect of their profession – trust.
Do the members of GBA have a responsibility to ensure that lawyers do not short change clients and at all times should return to them retainer fees when they are not able to perform the duties that they were hired to do in the first place?
If these retainers and some time large amounts are involved, are not returned – will the local bar make amends with affected persons by getting some of their members to come forward and offer pro-bono service?
The GBA cannot sit and remain quiet on this important issue of persons who hired one of their own to give them legal representations and cannot now do so.
There is another aspect of the Mohammed ruling that offers a challenge to the local bar and its executives.
Is Mr. Samuel the only questionable lawyer operating in the country?
The GBA is fully aware of the documented evidence within the Supreme Court Registry of other attorneys-at-law who have been accused time and time again of bringing what they like to refer to as this “noble profession” into public disrepute.
A most recent case is the attorney-at-law who was ordered by the same Justice Mohammed to make certain payments to a former client in a real estate transaction that went sour.
The attorney, as an officer of the courts, was in breach of the Court Order but not one word was uttered by the same GBA that hounded down Kenroy Samuel.
THE NEW TODAY is not making out any case for the embattled Antiguan lawyer since he is more than capable of mounting his legal challenges before the Court of Appeal and then probably the Privy Council in London against the ruling of Justice Mohammed.
Is it a case of different strokes for different folks? Is the bar afraid to act in some cases because some of their own members have become compromised in money matters involving clients?
Justice Mohammed also raised some very salient points about the role of the current Attorney-General of Grenada, Mr. Cajeton Hood in the Kenroy Samuel affair.
It should be noted that Mr. Samuel was admitted to the local bar to take up an assignment in Justis Chambers, a law firm that involves Mr. Hood after the February 2013 victory at the polls of the ruling New National Party (NNP).
Did the current AG know about the status of Mr. Samuel and his Disbarment in the State of New York in the United States when he was admitted to practice and to take up an assignment with Justis Chambers?
Exactly when did Mr. Hood know about the status of Mr. Samuel? Did he know anything prior to receiving information from another local attorney, Ian Sandy about the Disbarment Order against Mr. Samuel in New York?
Justice Mohammed made a rather interesting comment in her 17-page ruling in the Kenroy Samuel matter:
She said: ” The Court has noted with great concern that the AG (Cajeton Hood) played a significant role in the events … and, for reasons unknown to the Court, the AG has not filed any affidavit to place on record his account of his role. This has deprived the Court of the benefit of his evidence in a matter, which has far reaching consequences, not only for the Respondent (Samuels) but for the profession in Grenada. In my view such omission is unfortunate”.