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Monday 11 December 2017
Local

Slammed for representing dead man, Ramdeen: I will continue fight for disadvantaged

Attorney Gerald Ramdeen. FILE PHOTO

Attorney Gerald Ramdeen says he will continue his fight for the disadvantaged people in society who are not able to access proper legal representation.

Ramdeen, who is also a UNC Senator, was commenting on last week’s ruling of the Court of Appeal on a case in which he prosecuted a case although his client was dead.

In the judgement, Chief Justice Ivor Archie was highly critical of Ramdeen and his former associate Varun Debideen.

Ramdeen told Newsday he read with great interest the comments of the court, adding that he respected the ruling of the CJ and Justices of Appeal Rajendra Narine and Judith Jones.

“I will continue my fight for the disadvantaged and less fortunate in our society who are not able to access proper legal representation no matter what the consequences. That is what I have done for the past 17 years and nothing is going to change that,” he said.

The judgement was on the appeal by the Attorney General of a judge’s ruling which gave the attorneys representing Roland James – the claimant in a false-imprisonment case against the State who died a month after his lawsuit was filed in 2013 – the permission to appoint someone as his substitute. In January 2016, Justice Ronnie Boodoosingh gave James’s attorneys time to appoint a substitute, failing which, he ruled, the lawsuit would be struck out.

In his ruling, Boodoosingh held there was nothing unusual about a claim being advanced or continuing after the death of a person. In their defence, Ramdeen and Debideen maintained that neither of them withheld from the court that their client had died, since they did not know of his death until it was brought to their attention in October 2015.

But in their decision, the judges said the submission by the attorneys that James had given them full control and conduct of the case was unacceptable.

“They had a responsibility to keep in contact with their client and to make him aware of the progress of his case,” Archie said.

He described the lawyers’ conduct as falling within the meaning of unreasonable and negligent.

“It is unimaginable to think that an attorney, who is an officer of the court, is taking vigorous steps to prosecute a matter in which his client has been dead for two years,” Archie said.

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