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HoA court matter with CoI lawyers adjourned to Oct 26, 2021

- Bilal M. Rawat, Andrew King & Rhea Harrikissoon accused of being in violation of Legal Professional Act 2015 for practising law in VI while not being called to bar
Andrew King & Bilal M. Rawat are two of the three Lawyers currently assisting with the works of the UK-sponsored Virgin Islands (VI) Commission of Inquiry (CoI) in the Virgin Islands, have been accused of practicing law in the territory & doing so while not being called to bar in violation of Legal Professional Act 2015. Photo: Internet Source
The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) of the Virgins Islands (VI) in July 2021, had ruled that House of Assembly Speaker, Hon Julian Willock, and Deputy Speaker, Hon Neville A. Smith (AL) has standing in the case against 3 CoI lawyers accused of illegally practicing law in the VI. Photo: HoA/Youtube/Facebook
The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) of the Virgins Islands (VI) in July 2021, had ruled that House of Assembly Speaker, Hon Julian Willock, and Deputy Speaker, Hon Neville A. Smith (AL) has standing in the case against 3 CoI lawyers accused of illegally practicing law in the VI. Photo: HoA/Youtube/Facebook
When it was revealed during a CoI hearing of June 14, 2021, that the three were not admitted to practice law in the VI, CoI Commissioner, Sir Gary R. Hickinbottom indicated that they did not need to be admitted to practice law in the Virgin Islands in order to carry out their duties, however, he directed that they take steps to be admitted anyway. Photo: VINO/File
When it was revealed during a CoI hearing of June 14, 2021, that the three were not admitted to practice law in the VI, CoI Commissioner, Sir Gary R. Hickinbottom indicated that they did not need to be admitted to practice law in the Virgin Islands in order to carry out their duties, however, he directed that they take steps to be admitted anyway. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) of the Virgins Islands (VI), in July 2021, had ruled that House of Assembly Speaker Hon Julian Willock and Deputy Speaker Hon Neville A. Smith (AL) had standing in the case against three Commission of Inquiry (CoI) lawyers accused of illegally practising law in the VI.

Bilal M. Rawat, Andrew King and Rhea Harrikissoon, who are currently assisting with the works of the UK-sponsored Virgin Islands (VI) Commission of Inquiry (CoI) in the Virgin Islands, have been accused of practising law in the territory and doing so while not being called to the Virgin Islands Bar, a violation of the Legal Profession Act 2015.

Applicants assisting with conduct of CoI

The Applicants, as part of their ongoing works with the conduct of the CoI, are accused of inquiring into and reporting on, amongst other things, whether there is information that corruption, abuse of office or other serious dishonesty may have taken place in recent years amongst the public, elected, and statutory officials.

When it was revealed during the CoI hearing of June 14, 2021, that the three were not admitted to practice law in the VI, CoI Commissioner, Sir Gary R. Hickinbottom indicated that they did not need to be admitted to practice law in the Virgin Islands in order to carry out their duties; however, he directed that they take steps to be admitted anyway.

The Applicants then placed before the court three Fixed Date Claim Forms in which they sought admission to practice law in the Territory.

The Applications were made pursuant to section 68 of the West Indies Associated States Supreme Court (Virgin Islands) Act1 (“The Supreme Court Act”). Under the Act, a Judge of the High Court may, subject to certain provisions admit to practise as a barrister of the Court any member of the English, Scottish or Irish Bar.

The Applications were served on the Office of the Attorney General presumably in compliance with section 10 (2) of the Legal Profession Act 2015, where Attorney General, Hon Dawn J. Smith had indicated that she does not object to the Applications.

Speaker & Deputy made objections to the application

Following the Applications, both Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the HoA, (“the Objectors”) lodged objections to the Applications on the basis that the Applicants have been practicing law in the Virgin Islands since March 2021, in breach of the Legal Profession Act. They also objected on the ground that the three held themselves out to be Barristers and Lawyers despite not having being admitted to practice law in the territory.  

Both the Speaker and Deputy Speaker have also put forward an objection to the moral character of the three individuals.

Where the Objectors will have an opportunity to submit further written evidence setting out the details of their objections and the Applicants will get an opportunity to respond by a given deadline, the matter has since been adjourned to October 26, 2021.

Both parties, however, are to lodge and exchange written expressions on or before, no less than 7 days before the hearing day, according to court documents obtained by our newsroom.

See link below to related article:

https://www.virginislandsnewsonline.com/en/news/speaker-deputy-speaker-taking-coi-to-court-over-status-of-its-lawyers

19 Responses to “HoA court matter with CoI lawyers adjourned to Oct 26, 2021”

  • Xxx (22/08/2021, 10:17) Like (8) Dislike (45) Reply
    Don’t back down esteem
    • BVI lawyer (22/08/2021, 12:00) Like (10) Dislike (34) Reply
      There is no doubt that the three lawyers are in breach of at least 4 restrictions in the BVI Legal Profession Act and therefore committing 4 criminal offenses every day. The DPP should be prosecuting but since she told that CoI that she should get more money she presumably does not want to upset it by starting criminal actions.
    • Get up stand up (22/08/2021, 12:57) Like (2) Dislike (28) Reply
      One white bwoy decided to lock we down and we is the majority
    • Rubber Duck (22/08/2021, 19:14) Like (12) Dislike (6) Reply
      Pissing into the wind. On our money.
  • Good Advisor: The human brain is far stronger that the human mussels, but the brain sometimes needs assistance from the mussels. (22/08/2021, 10:56) Like (1) Dislike (9) Reply
    I declare that a brain and mussels partnerships win the battle over brain alone the overwhelming majority of the time. Agree with me, because I am right.
    • WHAT!!!! (22/08/2021, 12:49) Like (25) Dislike (2) Reply
      “Good Advisor”
      Too bad your human brain didn’t know the difference between mussels one can eat and human body muscles.
    • @ Good Advisor (22/08/2021, 13:35) Like (23) Dislike (1) Reply
      Mussels or muscles?! Too funny!
    • @ Good Advisor... (22/08/2021, 22:44) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      You are not right about the spelling of muscle.
      A mussel is a bivalve mollusk.
  • Yep (22/08/2021, 11:06) Like (7) Dislike (4) Reply
    Yes,stand upright for the hard fall.
  • @ WHAT!!!! (22/08/2021, 14:29) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    I BEG TO DIFFER / A CANIBAL WILL , EAT BOTH
  • Good Advisor (22/08/2021, 15:14) Like (4) Dislike (3) Reply
    Most people are negative minded. How do I know this you may ask. Because even if you and I were to score 99 points out of 100 but messup one (1), whether by error or not, their issue is the one (1) that you missed, not the ninety-nine (99) that you did not.
    Question, should persons that are clocked in such upsidedown mindset be trusted to advise us on what is good and what is not? No, No, No way.
  • ???? (22/08/2021, 20:44) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    QUESTION , WHILE THIS CASE IS IN THE HANDS OF THE ( ECSC ) WILL THE ( COI ) CONTINUE IN SEPTEMBER.??
  • confused (22/08/2021, 22:53) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    But is who the AG working for? Slightly confused.
  • Wellsah (23/08/2021, 07:15) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    I thought taking a lawyer to court was like finding rooster teeth but this is what happens when you condescend over a people and follow the ‘master of these proceedings’ in recklessly charging forward. Three lawyers and they still end up in a tight spot.

    Who will want a lawyer that finds themself in such a precarious situation.
    Reputation 100 > 0
  • Wellsah (23/08/2021, 07:19) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    I’m glad this went before the court to deal with without biases and not another ‘independent’ inquiry.
  • TruthbTold (23/08/2021, 09:45) Like (2) Dislike (6) Reply
    All the time you are buying, you are in for big surprise. Nonsense!!!!!!
  • josiah'sbay (23/08/2021, 15:02) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    The Attorney General should find them in breach of VI's law and reject their application. If she admit them to practice at this stage it would totally be against the sprit of the law. Let the UK appoint two different lawyers and let them go trough the proper procedure and proceed from there. In my opinion small countries have two spaces where they are equal with the big countries which are humanitarian pursuits and Law.


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