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#1 Mar 18, 2019 9:02 pm

gripe
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Privy Council Rules Against Ewart "Headache" Layne

Unfortunately for Ewart, his quest to be called to the Bar at home was denied by the Privy Council (PC) in their decision issued today, found here: https://www.jcpc.uk/cases/jcpc-2017-0017.html

(You may review the discussion on Ewart's PC hearing last year on this forum: http://spiceislandertalkshop.com/oldtal … hp?id=2424 )

Here are the concluding arguments from the PC:

"For the reasons given above, the Board humbly advises Her Majesty that this appeal should be dismissed. The fact that Mr Layne is now a man of good standing in the community is certainly a necessary requirement for the good character condition for admission to the Bar of Grenada to be satisfied, but it is not in itself enough. Public confidence in the profession had also to be considered. The judge’s assessment was that there was sufficient risk that it would be damaged by acceding to Mr Layne’s application and so that facet of the good character condition was not met. The Board concludes that there was no reviewable error in her decision on this matter."

Here are a few comments from me:

Interestingly, similar cases, at least in the U.S., give great, decisive weight to the issue of whether the applicant is of good moral character. In fact, in the U.S., the applicant would almost certainly be admitted to the Bar if he/she satisfies that requirement. In Ewart's case, however, despite the fact that the PC found the equivalent of "good moral character" in Ewart -- by stating that he has "good standing in the community" -- they instead threw that to the side and gave more weight to the argument/requirement that public confidence in the profession would be damaged by admitting Ewart to the Bar.

I disagree with the PC's decision for a host of reasons especially its refusal to see that it is contradictory to say, on the one hand, that a person, Ewart, has "good standing in the community" but, on the other hand, that the person, Ewart, would hurt the legal profession if he is allowed to be called to the Bar. Hogwash and then some . . .

Last edited by gripe (Mar 18, 2019 9:03 pm)

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#2 Mar 18, 2019 10:27 pm

Expat
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Re: Privy Council Rules Against Ewart "Headache" Layne

You may at some point be in good standing with the community, ie. the community does not think you are about to conjoin in Murder at the drop of a hat. There is scope in many areas for people to have served their time, and then expect however foolhardy that may be  having paid their dept to society they may continue with their life afresh.

However in MOST cases this is not what happens, on many job applications there will be a space for "Have you any criminal convictions".

In MOST cases saying I was a burglar, car thief, rapist, even petty criminal or definitely murderer your chances of getting that job are slim to nothing. Which is one reason why there is so much recidivism, as felons find it hard to get legitimate work.

And you find a problem with letting a convicted murderer start practicing Law.... that's like putting a cat among the pigeons, or a fox in the chicken coup. Maybe the American choices on accepting people to the Bar are as screwed as their exceptionally heavy penalties for mediocre crimes.

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#3 Mar 19, 2019 6:59 am

Slice
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Re: Privy Council Rules Against Ewart "Headache" Layne

So what is he suppose to do? I know Headache, I know the man, and ah doh believe he is ah threat to society, and should be allowed to practice law

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#4 Mar 19, 2019 7:50 am

New Historian
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Re: Privy Council Rules Against Ewart "Headache" Layne

No problems with that PC decision. Let's face facts: "good standing in the community" is one of those meaningless phrases that basically mean that he ain't in jail. Layne is NOT in good standing, don't confuse politeness with acceptance. A lot of people, myself included, have issues with that lot and their place in Grenadian society; we may accept it but that don't mean we have to like it. Nor does it mean we have to buy all their "tell-all" books (which don't). I've met them, talked to them, they may think that I've "accepted" them back into society - I haven't, I'm just (too?) polite. And the sight of Headache Layne pontificating in a court of law would tick a lot of people off and, indeed, "damage public confidence" in the legal profession.

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#5 Mar 19, 2019 9:12 am

Real Distwalker
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Re: Privy Council Rules Against Ewart "Headache" Layne

If I remember what I have read, he was sanctioned by the NJM during the Revo for mistreatment of prisoners.

That he was the driver behind the repression of Rastafarians on the island.

That he was the man who personally gave the orders for the troops to make a movement to contact at Ft. George on October 19, 1983.

That he was the vice-chairman of the RMC.

It's none of my business, but that isn't something I would call trivial.

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#6 Mar 19, 2019 9:51 am

Slice
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Re: Privy Council Rules Against Ewart "Headache" Layne

HA was the man in charge, so ah wonder how could Headache give those kinda orders.

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#7 Mar 19, 2019 10:10 am

Real Distwalker
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Re: Privy Council Rules Against Ewart "Headache" Layne

Austin was in charge of building the airfield at Pt. Salines and Ewart had become the day-to-day head of the PRA.  It really isn't in doubt that Ewart ordered the troops to Ft. George on the 19th, he said he did so in his personal statement regarding the events of October 19th.

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#8 Mar 19, 2019 10:15 am

Real Distwalker
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Re: Privy Council Rules Against Ewart "Headache" Layne

A portion of the official Statement of Layne Ewart.

Reflections of the day even 16 years later have the feel of a very bad dream.

First, I remember the crowds gathering in the streets; then their appearance at the entrance to Mr. Wheldale; then the breaking into the compound and the taking away of Maurice.

Next thing I knew hundreds had overrun and seized Fort Rupert, the headquarters of the army. Then alarming reports as to what was taking place at Fort Rupert and as to the declared intentions of those there, started to come in: the Operations Room had been occupied; members of the General Staff were under arrest; the soldiers had been disarmed; the armoury had been seized; weapons had been distributed to civilians; units were being formed to move to seize the Radio Station, and Army Logistics Base where all the reserve weaponry of the army were held. Civil war was evidently at the door.

Faced with this alarming situation, efforts were made to contact those assumed to be in charge of Fort Rupert with a view to resolving the situation peacefully. But all of these efforts were rejected out of hand with the demand to surrender or face the consequences. It was in this context that I gave the order to a military unit to proceed to Fort Rupert and retake the headquarters.

I honestly believe that any objective observer who is aware of all the material facts would recognise that October 19th was a spontaneous situation, which got terribly out of control.

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#9 Mar 19, 2019 12:54 pm

gripe
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Re: Privy Council Rules Against Ewart "Headache" Layne

RD, although you have not said so, it appears that the Privy Council's (PC) intent is to punish Ewart for his apparently key roles in the critical decisions that led to the horrible events at home in October 1983. What else explains the PC's inconsistent reasoning that Ewart has "good standing within the community" but yet also argue that he would "damage" the profession if he is called to the Bar? Importantly, I am not aware that the record in the case included the full extent of Ewart's activities leading up to October 1983, but one can fairly assume that that information was available to the PC.

There is another consideration that baffles me and may support the idea that Ewart was singularly punished. It is this: Selwyn Strachan, another PRG member and one of the "Grenada 17" is now an attorney at home! Here is a report on the ruling in his favor: https://thenewtoday.gd/local-news/2014/ … #gsc.tab=0  How does that square with the PC's ruling regarding Ewart? Is it that Ewart was much too involved, much more culpable for October 1983, compared to Selwyn? I don't have any facts to answer that question.

Note that Selwyn attended Ewart's PC hearing:

"The court session was also attended by former PRG minister, Selwyn Strachan, an attorney, who was among the first of the so-called “Grenada -17” to apply to practice law in Grenada.

His application was turned down, but he appealed to the Privy Council which overturned the ruling of the Grenada court in what was then described as a landmark case and Strachan was later admitted to the local Bar." http://drealfmgrenada.com/index.php/201 … -minister/

Here is what I suspect Ewart's attorneys should have filed with his PC hearing: a report showing the sentiments -- by way of polling, comments, affidavits, etc. -- of the Grenadian people about whether they would accept Ewart as an attorney, post-1983 and his revolutionary activities. For me, this is not a hindsight recommendation but one that any serious attorney should have presented to the PC given the issues that were critical to a favourable ruling for Ewart. It is fair to assume that such a submission was not made on Ewart's behalf because that would have rendered null and void -- in fact, MOOT -- the main argument that the PC relied on to deny Ewart, which is that he would "damage" the profession if called to the Bar. Again, hogwash!

For the above reasons, I disagree with the PC's ruling.

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#10 Mar 19, 2019 4:38 pm

Real Distwalker
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Re: Privy Council Rules Against Ewart "Headache" Layne

I have no insight why the Privy Council does anything.  Now, having said that, I think that in the stack ranking of the Grenada 17 from most criminal to least criminal, Layne Ewart would be among the worst and Selwyn Strachan among the least.

I mean, Ewart was sanctioned by NJM for mistreatment of prisoners.  He is behind the infamous repression of the Rastafarians. He ordered the troops to attack Ft. George on the 19th.  That is some serious stuff.

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