Shadow Attorney-General Trevor Moniz was kicked out of the House of Assembly last night amid a row over files regarding the Bermuda Government’s lawsuit against the Lahey Clinic.
He was told to leave after he repeatedly accused national security minister Wayne Caines of “misleading the House” and after Dennis Lister, the Speaker of the House, warned him that he would have to leave if he continued “his game”.
Mr Moniz responded: “Well, that’s fine, Mr Speaker.”
Mr Lister then told him to walk.
The dismissal of the Government’s case against the Boston clinic in a US court on technical grounds dominated last night’s Motion to Adjourn.
The row broke out after Mr Caines said the Attorney-General, Kathy Lynn Simmons, had to deal with not having all the case files, as well as “allegations of documents being shredded”.
Mr Moniz, on a point of order, insisted that the files were all with the law firm.
Mr Caines responded: “Why would any government minister, why would anyone in charge of justice have files outside of a government office?
“What type of country do we live in when we do not have files where they can be checked, where they can be managed, where they can be looked at?”
But Mr Moniz said: “The case was in Massachusetts. Wouldn’t the files be in Massachusetts — that’s where the case is.”
In response to Mr Caines stating that there should always be copies of files kept in the country, Mr Moniz again insisted that he was “misleading the house” and that the files were always available.
Mr Lister said: “I think you’ve stretched your point.”
Mr Moniz responded: “Let me finish, Mr Speaker.”
Mr Lister said: “Member, you continue your game and that door is going to be yours.”
Mr Moniz said: “Well, that’s fine, Mr Speaker.”
After his ejection, PLP MP Michael Scott accused Mr Moniz of deliberately getting himself thrown out of the Lower House.
Mr Scott said: “That Member, the chief law officer, has by calculation and device arranged for his self-ejectment from the house so that he does not have to answer.”
He added that Mr Moniz’s actions told “a thousand tales of the absence of accountability”.
The heated debate came after Mr Moniz said in a statement earlier last night that he was disappointed that the Government’s case was thrown out on technical grounds.
Mr Moniz defended his decision to launch the case last year and said Judge Indira Talwani’s statement suggested criminal acts may have been committed.
Judge Talwani said in her ruling: “It may well be that Bermuda’s allegations as to Lahey’s commission of various predicate acts would suffice for criminal charges … or civil enforcement proceedings brought by the US Attorney-General.”
Mr Moniz added: “In other words, the federal judge is saying that criminal acts may have been committed.
“She pointedly noted that American institutions such as Johns Hopkins may have a valid domestic injury claim against Lahey within the US.”
Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General, said yesterday that the case would not be pursued in Bermuda.
The case was dropped because the judge found that Bermuda had suffered no loss in the US.
Mr Moniz said the US Supreme Court had narrowed its legal test after the Lahey investigation had started. He added: “The dismissal of the Government’s civil case against Lahey Clinic comes as a disappointment.
“As Attorney-General, I made the decision to issue proceeding following an exhaustive investigation.
“Throughout the entire process, I acted on the basis of legal advice and in the best interests of the community.
“Ultimately, the case was dismissed on a technical ground, namely that there is insufficient domestic injury in the US to bring a case before the American courts.
“This is a fast-moving area of the law, with the US Supreme Court only deciding to narrow the relevant legal test in the summer of 2016, well after the investigation into Lahey’s affairs began. A further appeal would be needed to clarify this point.
“It is important to point out that the case was based on compelling evidence and that the complaint was meticulously well-sourced — in many instances, with the very words of those involved.”
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