Rastas bemoan delays in court

The Rastafari Community is taking Attorney General Dale Marshall to task over the continued delay in the constitutional case relating to their right to use marijuana in the privacy of their homes.

In a press release issued yesterday, they charged that while Marshall had been condemning the time it was taking for cases to be resolved, their matter had been adjourned until next year, the fourth in three years, because the Attorney General’s Office had failed to meet certain requirements.

When contacted, Marshall said he was aware of the case and it was being handled by “external counsel”.

According to the case file, the attorneys involved include Principal State Counsel Marsha Lougheed from the Attorney General’s Office, in association with King’s Counsel Sir Elliott Mottley and Leslie Haynes.

Marshall told the MIDWEEK NATION: “I am aware of the case but I am not aware of what stage the litigation is at. You should appreciate that every case that is filed against the Government of Barbados, regardless of what it relates to, has the Attorney General as the defendant. As I recall, this is a piece of litigation which seeks to examine the constitutionality of the Drug Abuse and Prevention Act and therefore the Attorney General is a defendant, but I have no day to day management of the case. That particular case has been assigned to external counsel because of its constitutional nature but, beyond that, I couldn’t say what exactly is the status of the matter.”

He, however, said that based on the complaint, he was looking into the matter.

“So I’ve reached out to my staff to find out exactly where the matter is and to see exactly what issues there are as to why they are not ready to proceed or why they are not complying with the court’s order, but the attorneys dealing with the matter are the ones responsible for the day to day management of the litigation.”

In explaining the circumstances surrounding the adjournment, the Rastafarian community said when the case came up for pre-trial review last Monday, the Attorney General as the defendant in the matter, “was to have submitted all witness statements for review before proceeding to trial at the end of the month”, but failed to do so.(MB)

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