Attorneys to sort out Tracy’s zipline defamation lawsuit against Farley

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Farley Augustine

ATTORNEYS for former PNM Tobago political leader Tracy Davidson-Celestine and THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine have been told to come to an agreement on whether the former’s defamation claim against the latter is dead in the water or can progress.

Augustine’s attorneys say the claim was automatically struck out because her attorneys did not apply for a case-management hearing in accordance with the civil procedure rules.

At a brief hearing before Justice Carol Gobin on Tuesday, attorneys for the THA chief secretary raised the issue.

Attorney Ken Wright, who appears for Augustine with Justin Phelps, said in accordance with rule 27.3, the matter should be automatically struck out, as Davidson-Celestine’s attorneys did not apply to the court for a CMC (case management conference) in keeping with the rules. He said the rules provided for an “automatic dismissal” of the claim.

However, Davidson-Celestine’s lead attorney, Keith Scotland, said he had spoken with Phelps and the parties had an agreement on the application.

Gobin gave them until December 1 to consider the point and get back to her, since if the matter is automatically struck out, there will be nothing before the court. If the rules allow for an extension of time to apply for the CMC, then the judge said she will give directions on the further progression of the case.

“If there is an automatic strikeout, then there is nothing to go forward. If there is an avenue to extend time, send an agreed position and we can move forward from there,” Gobin directed.

Davidson-Celestine filed the defamation claim after statements made by Augustine during the THA election campaign on January 25, 2021. He called on Davidson-Celestine to answer to taxpayers about a zipline project planned for the Main Ridge Forest Reserve.

Also appearing for Davidson-Celestine are attorneys Asha Watkins-Montserin and Keisha Kydd-Hanibal.