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Fitzgerald ‘May Be Held In Contempt’

Jerome Fitzgerald

Jerome Fitzgerald

By SANCHESKA BROWN

Tribune Staff Reporter

sbrown@tribunemedia.net

HOUSE Speaker Dr Kendal Major said yesterday that Jerome Fitzgerald may be held in contempt of the House of the Assembly if it is found that the private emails he read in Parliament from members of Save the Bays were obtained illegally.

While making several rulings in the House of Assembly, Dr Major said in the future, members who attempt to table unverified documents would not be allowed to do so unless they satisfy “the standard of authenticity and reliability.”

In the House of Assembly last month, Mr Fitzgerald, the Marathon MP, alleged that members of STB were engaged in a well-financed plot to destabilise the government, and he disclosed email messages about their activities, which he said substantiated his point. Those emails were later tabled in Parliament.

He has since maintained that he did not have “unauthorised” access to the emails but stressed that his actions were protected by parliamentary privilege. Mr Fitzgerald has also said that he got the private emails from his “political garbage can.”

“Additionally, the improper release of private and unreliable emails may violate the Computer Misuse Act and Data Protection Act,” Dr Major said.

“Particularly this violation is more likely when the source of the email is not verified. No doubt since the information was released in this privileged chamber, members are not subject to injunction in a court of law....

“Members there is a fine line between parliamentary privilege, our right of free speech and our duty to refrain from abuse of private citizens. We must accept our responsibilities and exercise restraint.”

Last Thursday, STB was granted an injunction restraining parliamentarians from further disclosing the group’s confidential information in Parliament.

The injunction was granted by Justice Indra Charles on Thursday and lasts until May 12. However, Dr Major expressed shock at the injunction yesterday and said the business of the House of Assembly would go on as usual. The Office of the Attorney General is expected to file a motion to have the injunction set aside.

Dr Major also ruled that two affidavits that Fort Charlotte MP Dr Andre Rollins attempted to file last month would not be tabled in the House for a number of reasons.

Dr Major said after he reviewed the documents in question for an extended period, he concluded that the source of the affidavits is “questionable and untested.” He also said the matters are still under police investigation and awaiting judicial determination.

On March 17, Dr Rollins challenged Dr Major’s decision at that time not to accept two affidavits he tabled the night before in reference to a controversy surrounding Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard and an alleged murder for hire plot.

Dr Rollins previously told the House of Assembly that one of the documents allegedly named Deputy Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis as someone who “coached two individuals who the government calls criminals.”

He also claimed he was tabling a “doctored” affidavit, as well as another document that was not redacted, which he said frequently mentioned Mr Davis.

On March 9, STB filed an affidavit which accused Mr Nygard of hiring two “gang members” to carry out crimes against his opponents. Mr Nygard has denied the allegations and has countersued.

Comments

birdiestrachan 4 years, 3 months ago

Mr: Fitzgereld did not want to table what he had read. It was Butler Turner and Rollins who insisted that he did. I saw it on TV with my own eyes and ears. It is to bad that this important detail was left out of this report..

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Space 4 years, 3 months ago

No he just wanted to verbally slander private citizens without tabling any proof... that's way more appropriate and civilized.

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ThisIsOurs 4 years, 3 months ago

Well Billy didn't want to rob Mr Johnson but Boogie Man the neighborhood their jinx him to do it. Who's the fool? It certainly wasn't Boogie Man. Little children who can't take responsibility for their own actions shouldn't be in the House of Assembly.

Fitzgerald has been warned for his foolish and irresponsible actions

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Alltoomuch 4 years, 3 months ago

I know our "oh so fair" speaker is very young but does he know any history of the HOA at all? Remember Mike Lightbourn- an MP in 1982 & the ruling against him at that time! Have the rules been changed - again!!

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birdiestrachan 4 years, 3 months ago

STB is not without faults. only the good Lord knows what they are doing, but they do admit they paid Bullard and the other man for information. that is not true, that story about attempt on their lives is not true and they know it, besides look at how they have in their advertisments pictures of the PM as a puppett and guess who pays for it fried Bacon...and a relative of Cheif Crazy Horse. is the front man in all of this. They are free to do what ever pleases them. but they can not be touched. I would like to know what STB has to hide. it must be some very dangerous business. that causes them to work so hard to conceal it. persons with clean hands have no fear. the other news paper has a picture of the Judge. she could pass for a sister of the outspoken QC.

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ThisIsOurs 4 years, 3 months ago

Who's talking about STB but Futzgerald?? And he's been threatened with contempt for doing that. Fitzgerald was WRONG and IRRESPONSIBLE and his actions were far beneath anyone calling themselves a "representative of the people". He is a representative of himself and his other "touch one touch all" group of bandits.

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Economist 4 years, 3 months ago

STB is a thorn in the governments side.

STB has held the governments feet to the fire over a series of environmental issues.

Some of the members are also part of the RUBIS fight where Min. Fitzgerald got caught with his pants down by his ankles for keeping a report, that affected the health and safety of his constituents, secret for 2 years.

One has to ask if he had something to gain for not taking care of his constituents.

So he has an ax to grind with anyone connected to the Rubis matter.

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Observer 4 years, 3 months ago

Here's a hint. Everyone who sends or receives an email, has an open option to forward same to whomever, who can then forward to someone else whose forwarding option might include anybody else, and on and on, deliberately or otherwise. THE INTERNET IS NOT PRIVATE. If privacy is of importance, seal the communication to be delivered, in an envelope.

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cmiller 4 years, 3 months ago

'May' be held.......means very little to us citizens. Either he's being held or not!!!!

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TalRussell 4 years, 3 months ago

Comrade Speaker will require Comrade Substantive Crown Ministers Jerome & Freddy to present all they documents in both Bahamaland's official languages.
Maybe the Honourable Speaker could engage a King's Counsel to satisfy “the standard of authenticity and reliability" documents" does meets with the standards of the Honourable House of Assembly - we other official language?
The People's House, certainly don't wish push the button to invite a legal challenge, over proper legal phraseology languages.

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proudloudandfnm 4 years, 3 months ago

I wish I could trust the PLP. But we all know this is bull. Jerome will not be investigated....

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proudloudandfnm 4 years, 3 months ago

Of course Jerome did not want to table stolen emails Birdie..

Don't be thick dear.

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sheeprunner12 4 years, 3 months ago

With the technology that is out there, it should not be that difficult to determine HOW Jerome Fitzgerald got those emails ........ either directly or indirectly ....... he is either acting criminally or he is an accessory to a crime ....... it was no garbage bin ......it involved HACKING

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Required 4 years, 3 months ago

Fitzgerald is in contempt of intelligent debate and human decency. He belongs in a political trash can - one that should never be recycled.

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John 4 years ago

Sounds like Fritzgerald is going to be punished twice for the same violation. If the matter already went to the Supreme Court where Fritzgerald received a hefty fine wouldn't it be duplicitous for the speaker to come back and offer more punishment? That is why it is very necessary to keep the two highest institutions as sep and as independent of each other as possible.

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John 4 years ago

Isn't it like going to the magistrates court and getting a fine then going to the Supreme Court for the same offence

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