Jamaica
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GLC gets flood of complaints after Buchanan faux pas

The chairman of the General Legal Council (GLC) says she has been bombarded by complaints from several lawyers and ordinary citizens deploring attorney Isat Buchanan’s conduct following “profane” comments he made on the weekend.

GLC Chairman Denise Kitson, KC, in her affidavit, which accompanied a complaint lodged at the GLC’s Disciplinary Committee on Wednesday for possible action, said she was also shocked by Buchanan’s utterances.

The GLC is the regulatory body for members of the law profession. Its disciplinary committee, which acts independently of the council, is chaired by Daniella Gentles-Silvera, KC.

The attorney-at-law and former chairman of the People’s National Party’s (PNP) Human Rights Commission sparked public condemnation after he made the offensive comments during a YouTube programme on Sunday.

Buchanan quoted lyrics from convicted murderer and dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel’s song The Menace.

Kartel, whose given name is Adidja Palmer, is now being represented by Buchanan in his appeal at the Privy Council.

“I watched the said video and heard, to my great alarm, Isat A. Buchanan repeatedly used profane language while referring to the DPP and attributing dishonourable conduct in an obscene manner to the Honourable Minister of Justice,” Kitson said in her affidavit.

A letter was prepared to be served on Buchanan, instructing him to file a response to the affidavit within 42 days of receipt of the application of complaint. Following the expiration of the 42 days, the committee will determine whether a prima facie has been established.

When contacted by The Gleaner, Buchanan declined to say whether he had been served with documents.

NO APOLOGY TO CHUCK

According to Kitson, the complaint was made on the basis that the “profane” language used by Buchanan and his conduct constituted a breach of Canon 1(b) and VIII(b) of the Legal Profession (Cannon of Professional Ethics), “in that it is conduct which failed to maintain the honour and dignity of the legal profession and which tends to discredit the profession and is unbecoming of a lawyer”.

In the affidavit, the GLC chairman also pointed to Buchanan’s apology to Llewellyn on Tuesday but noted that no apology had been offered to Chuck.

On Wednesday, Kitson told The Gleaner that the council met and decided on a course of action that it would be pursuing. She, however, declined to elaborate.

CVM Television also parted ways with Buchanan, who was contracted as a guest host on its morning programme.

Meanwhile, the Jamaican Bar Association yesterday condemned Buchanan’s utterances, charging that he sought to “denigrate” the King’s Counsel, her office, government ministers, and the Jamaican Constitution.

This is Buchanan’s second run-in with the GLC’s Disciplinary Committee. Last October, the body found him guilty of professional misconduct for breaching the sub-judice rule, which prohibits attorneys from speaking on pending judicial proceedings. He was cited for comments made about the appeal case that he is handling for Vybz Kartel. The lawyer, however, has appealed the ruling.

tanesha.mundle@gleanerjm.com