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Now Armour quits Rowley’s team
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley’s legal team suffered another blow yesterday as Senior Counsel Reginald Armour withdrew himself as lead attorney in all court matters with the PNM’s political leader. This decision came three days after Armour was elected president of the Law Association and one week after PNM Senator Faris Al-Rawi removed himself as instructing attorney for Rowley in a defamation suit filed by former attorney general Anand Ramlogan against the Opposition Leader surrounding Section 34.
Al-Rawi withdrew from the matter after senior legal authorities objected to him staying on as an instructing attorney for Rowley while being a witness in the same case. Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar last Monday called on Rowley to remove Al-Rawi as his instructing attorney and Opposition Senator, in the face of possible breaches of the Legal Profession Act. Yesterday Armour, who is currently in London attending to Privy Council matters, issued a brief statement announcing his withdrawal from all matters with the PNM leader.
His action follows questions raised within the legal fraternity about his nomination for association president. It was suggested his leading of Rowley’s defence team during the current heated election climate would create a perception of bias within the executive of the independent association. Armour dismissed these suggestions. He contended that he did not believe that his representing of Rowley would have any impact on his duties as president.
However yesterday he had a change of heart. Armour, in the statement, said owing to his election as president of Law Association “I have to give consideration to the appropriate balance achieved in the best interest of the association.” He advised that, with immediate effect, “I will be returning my High Court briefs to my instructing attorneys, to have them replace me. I do this for the reason of insulating the council and the Law Association from any charges of partiality against the association in anything to be done under my leadership.”
He said the Law Association was an “institution of national importance” and one of its statutory mandates was to promote, maintain and support the administration of justice and law. “This it must accomplish as a strong, independent association. Of importance to the rule of law is that clients are entitled to be represented by the lawyer of their choice and, lawyers in turn are obliged to represent those clients,” he said.
Armour said it was of “equal importance that the association be insulated from those perceptions which may be created, exist or arise and which call that independence into question.” He said he had discussed his considerations with Rowley as it affected his continued role as lead attorney. “He fully understands and supports the decision I have taken and has released me of all my professional obligations to him in those matters,” Armour concluded in the release. Senior Counsel Martin Daly, in response to Armour’s announcement, commended the Law Association president.
“It was a responsible and praiseworthy step,” Daly told the T&T Guardian.
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