Lawyer files suit over Darryl Smith report: Challenges Govt’s conduct into findings

Tuesday, November 5, 2019 - 18:45

The at­tor­ney rep­re­sent­ing for­mer food pro­duc­tion min­is­ter De­vant Ma­haraj, in a law­suit against the State, plans to ask the court to scru­ti­nise Gov­ern­ment’s con­duct in the han­dling of the Dar­ryl Smith re­port.

In a let­ter to At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Faris Al-Rawi, Che Din­di­al ques­tioned the Gov­ern­ment’s un­will­ing­ness and mixed re­spons­es to­wards re­leas­ing the find­ings of a com­mit­tee set up by the Of­fice of the Prime Min­is­ter.

The com­mit­tee probed a se­cret set­tle­ment of a sex­u­al ha­rass­ment case against for­mer Sport and Youth Af­fairs min­is­ter Dar­ryl Smith which was brought by his for­mer per­son­al as­sis­tant Car­rie-Ann More­au.

Mean­while, calls to Smith’s phone re­mained unan­swered up too late yes­ter­day.


Din­di­al said while he and Ma­haraj were pleased that the Gov­ern­ment gave an un­der­tak­ing to not de­stroy the re­port, Ma­haraj con­tin­ues to re­ly on me­dia re­ports due to the pauci­ty of in­for­ma­tion from the Gov­ern­ment.

He said the con­flict­ing re­ports have con­fused the pub­lic as sev­er­al con­tra­dic­to­ry state­ments were made by var­i­ous gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials. It was for this rea­son that Ma­haraj ap­plied for a ju­di­cial re­view of the Gov­ern­ment’s re­fusal to re­lease the re­port.

“It is dif­fi­cult to rec­on­cile the de­ci­sion to de­ny Mr Ma­haraj ac­cess to this re­port with these state­ments. We are there­fore pleased to note that copies of the re­port will be re­tained by the OPM and your of­fice pend­ing the hear­ing and de­ter­mi­na­tion of our client’s case.

We are well aware of the du­ty to make full and frank dis­clo­sure and have every in­ten­tion of plac­ing our ex­change of cor­re­spon­dence be­fore the court be­cause we in­tend to re­ly on same to ask the court to draw cer­tain ad­verse in­fer­ences about the Gov­ern­ment’s con­duct in this mat­ter,” Din­di­al said.

On Mon­day, Al-Rawi said it was pre­pos­ter­ous to think that the Gov­ern­ment would en­ter­tain the idea of de­stroy­ing the re­port while it was the sub­ject of a court mat­ter.

Re­spond­ing to Ma­haraj’s ap­pli­ca­tion for an in­junc­tion to stop the de­struc­tion of the re­port, Al-Rawi re­quest­ed that Din­di­al present a copy of his let­ter be­fore the courts so that the State could ap­ply for wast­ed costs against all coun­sels for the State.

De­scrib­ing this as a threat, Ma­haraj sug­gest­ed that the AG fo­cus on the amount of mon­ey that the Gov­ern­ment “wast­ed” in an at­tempt to con­vince the pub­lic that the re­port was use­less and should be dumped.

In his let­ter, Din­di­al in­clud­ed a June 2017 ex­cerpt from the Hansard, in which Smith’s suc­ces­sor, Sham­fa Cud­joe said that “the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is still on­go­ing and we are at the point in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion where the peo­ple men­tioned in the re­port are be­ing con­tact­ed and ques­tioned and pro­vid­ed with the nec­es­sary in­for­ma­tion that is present in the re­port, so they have that op­por­tu­ni­ty to re­spond.”

Din­di­al said: “Such wast­ed costs in­clude the mon­ey you have spent to ob­tain le­gal ad­vice to tell you that there was a breach of nat­ur­al jus­tice be­cause Mr Smith was al­leged­ly not giv­en the op­por­tu­ni­ty to be heard—a mat­ter that should be ob­vi­ous (if it were true) to even the most av­er­age of lawyers.”

Reporter: Kevon Felmine