Jagdeo challenging libel judgement in the Full Court
Vice-President, Bharrat Jagdeo
Vice-President, Bharrat Jagdeo

VICE-President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, has moved to the Demerara Full Court to challenge the decision of High Court Judge, Sandra Kurtzious, to grant a default judgement in a lawsuit filed by former Minister of Communities, Annette Ferguson.
In the Notice of Appeal filed on Monday, June 21, by his lawyer, Devindra Kissoon, Jagdeo is asking the court to have the judge’s decision set aside and reversed in its entirety.
Jagdeo is seeking an order setting aside the default judgement issued against him on March 11, 2021.
He is also seeking an order from the court to allow him leave to file a defence to the action within 7 days of the date of the granting of his application, and extending the relevant case management timelines to allow him to properly defend the claim.

Former Minister of Housing, Annette Ferguson

Lastly, Jagdeo is asking the court to grant an interim order staying the enforcement of the decision and default judgement pending the hearing and determination of the appeal.
In his grounds for appeal, Jagdeo, the appellant, is contending that Justice Kurtzious erred in law and in fact by finding that he had no real prospect of defending the claim against Ferguson.
Another ground contended that the learned judge erred and misdirected herself in law by entering a default judgement against Jagdeo without considering all of the grounds of his defence, including, but not limited to, the defence of justification.
In these respects, Jagdeo claimed that the judge erred in law by failing to appreciate the overriding objective of the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) in ensuring justice between both parties.
Among other things, the appeal seeks to argue that Justice Kurtzious erred in law and in fact by attempting to assess the evidence and conducting a mini-trial, as opposed to merely finding that the appellant had a real prospect of success, overlooking and failing to assess the facts averred in his pleadings which would be proved at trial.
On Wednesday, June 16, Justice Kurtzious affirmed her awarding of the default libel judgement against Jagdeo. The judge, at the time, was ruling on an application filed by Jagdeo to set aside the default judgement.

The judge said that Jagdeo presented no evidence to satisfy the court on why his application should be granted. However, she recanted the $20M previously granted, and is expected to assess a new quantum of damages with the parties involved come July 28, 2021.
In March, Justice Kurtzious had rendered the default judgement in the libel proceedings filed by Ferguson, who served under the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (AFC) administration. The proceedings resulted from statements made by Jagdeo alleging, in December 2019, that Ferguson had acquired significant wealth in only two years of being the housing minister, and used her public office to acquire several plots of land at Eccles, East Bank Demerara on which she was constructing a mansion. That story was published in the Guyana Times newspapers. The libel proceeding against Guyana Times is still ongoing.
Ferguson and her team of attorneys had applied for default judgement after Jagdeo had failed to file a defence within the prescribed time outlined in the CPR.
In addition to the $20M default judgement, Ferguson was also awarded costs in the sum of $75,000.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All our printed editions are available online
Subscribe to the Guyana Chronicle.
Sign up to receive news and updates.
We respect your privacy.