13 January 2020 Court of Appeal Hearing

13 Jan Justice13th January 2020 was a first day of the official sitting of the hearings in the Court of Appeal of the Bahamas, and our case was heard and adjourned to the 12th March 2020.

This was  an ultra bitter day for me.

Firstly there is a glorious event, as we stand at the side of Mr. Philip Lundy, who has been with us from day one. We will soon celebrate five years of his Pro Bono assistance.  Mrs. Yvette McCartney Meredith (http://cyvettemccartney.net/has joined us and is representing the Second Appellant, my husband Yuri Starostenko. I will continue act Pro Se’.  She is a very skilled, honest, and determined attorney, an excellent person to whom I deeply trust. our

We bring deepest gratitude to our attorneys, rare fighters for truth and justice! There are more persons from the legal world who are helping and consulting us, but having certain restrictions, so we can not name, but they know – our deep gratitude to you as well!

The matter was adjourned in order to give to Mrs. Yvette Meredith McCartney more time to get familiarized with a case.

We are waiting for the official transcripts of the hearings, but I can already say that our  Preliminary Applications logged on 15th February 2018  were denied any hearing. The Court, a full panel, simply ruled that it will proceed to the hearing of the substantial appeal without listening to our preliminary applications – not dismissed, not allowed, just never heard. 

I feel like I am being asked to run on one leg.

Further,  The Court decided to disregard our  3rd Affidavit with the evidence logged in the Supreme Court, which is  accordingly  to Sub-Rule 18(a) of the Court of Appeal Rules, 2005   should be before the Court.

The grounds for that is that we failed to appeal the deputy registrar”s decision to exclude such evidence form the record of Appeal and we have not filed the application for fresh evidence. My attempt to object  and explain, that until the fee waiving is not granted, we, as financially distressed litigant, direct consequences of this same litigation, we are prejudiced and can not afford to pay those applications but the court do have a discretion to  allow such evidence, was dismissed. This is a clear case of not allowing those in economic peril to ever have a fair chance at justice.

More painful perhaps was a Court announcement that it is prepared to hear  our appeal on only one narrow ground – was the Supreme Court correct to make a possession order when it has a concession by the lawyer who “represented” us at that time. But:

– there was not any concession, and it is already commented   in the Judgment of the Privy Council given on 3rd April 2017  
– even if a concession was thought to be made, it is an old established rule of the Commonwealth that the client can not be bound to the concession made by the attorney  without specific authorization, especially in the absence of the client in the court and  when the client , once discovered such an event made promptly an application to set aside the order .
 
The culmination of all was is that the Court rise and left, notwithstanding that I was standing there patiently waiting to be given a word, which did not happen.
 
There is this basic principle of Natural Justice – we all feel the same when the Justice is compromised, we feel pain, and will to change . 
 
There is another principle which is  The central idea is expressed in Ch 40 of the Magna Carta of 1215 (‘Nullivendemus nulli negabimus aut differemus rectum aut justiciam’), which remains on the statute book in the closing words of Ch 29 of the version issued by Edward I in 1297: ‘We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either Justice or Right.’.
 
Which is in the Article 20(8) of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas provides: 

‘Any court or other adjudicating authority prescribed by law for the determination of the existence or extent of any civil right or obligation shall be established by law and shall be independent and impartial; and where proceedings for such a determination are instituted by any person before such a court or other adjudicating authority, the case shall be given a fair hearing within a reasonable time’.  

On the subject, Moore J., as he was then, and who is now Chief Justice of the Bahamas stated in the case of Kohlrautz v. Kohlrautz and others – [1998] No. FP/81:

“37  Something must now be said about the Courts and the judges of The Bahamas. The Courts at every level are fully free open and public forums which operate with open doors through which the media (including the International news Media) and representatives of public, civic and non governmental organisations may enter without hindrance. The proceedings of our Courts may be freely and fully reported.

46  The basic rule of Bahamian law is that no order may be made against a person or party to any proceedings unless that party or person was given a full opportunity of being heard by the Court or other Tribunal making the order. This is the audi alteram partem rule which lies at the very bedrock of our jurisprudence.   “

Well, at the distance of  five years, we have not been heard for our merits in any court.

In the Supreme Court proceedings the trail was vacated on the absurd ground that UBS has not witnesses. This obviously means that they have no case, no evidence and judgment has to be entered against them. 

In the Court of Appeal on this last hearing, we were told that the Court is not minded to hear us ether.

In the meantime since 2013 we are living in financial distress, without rights to be engaged in any gainful activity here in the Bahamas. Additionally, we were violently and unlawfully evicted from our home in February 2018.

I hope and trust that all this story , which seems unbelievable nightmare, will find its end in the glory light of justice and truth.

Blessings to all of our readers and supporters, and especially to the very dear editor,

Irina

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