Unsubstantiated Kidnapping Claims by Edward Fitzgerald Fuel Court Manipulation Accusations

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In an unexpected turn of events, allegations of court manipulation have surfaced in the case of Indian fugitive Mehul Choksi. Lawyer representing Choksi, Edward Fitzgerald CBE KC who is based in the United Kingdom, have reportedly released information on his website stating that Choksi was kidnapped.

This is a significant development given that the claim of Choksi’s kidnapping is yet to be substantiated in the court of Antigua and Barbuda.

The court in Antigua and Barbuda, where Choksi is a citizen, is currently engaged in a legal discourse regarding his mysterious disappearance or alleged abduction. Despite the gravity of the situation and the ongoing legal process, the suspect’s lawyers have been accused of publicising unproven narratives, ostensibly in an attempt to sway the court’s opinion. This development has intensified the international spotlight on the already high-profile case.

On March 10, 2023, Mehul Choksi’s legal representative, Edward Fitzgerald advanced claims stating that Choksi was kidnapped in Antigua, where he has been residing as a successful businessman, with a headline, “Antiguan government and police have “case to answer” for failure to investigate abduction and torture.”

The article detailed that “Mr Choksi was abducted by a group of individuals from near his home in Antigua. He was repeatedly beaten, tasered, tied to a wheelchair, knocked unconscious and forced aboard a vessel and sailed to Dominica.” These claims are yet to be proven in the court of law.

Furthermore, the website alleged that the perpetrators claimed to be operating under the Indian government’s orders, given India’s ongoing pursuit of Choksi’s extradition. The alleged kidnappers reportedly threatened the lives of Mr Choksi and his family at knife point, pressuring him to return to India.

It’s worth noting that, to date, there is no substantial evidence corroborating the alleged involvement of the Indian government, or any other foreign entity, in this case.

Despite the serious claims made on his official website penned by Choksi‘s legal representative, Fitzgerald, no concrete proof has been presented that establishes a direct link between the alleged persons and any governmental or foreign bodies.

This lack of tangible evidence has created an environment of speculation and uncertainty surrounding the incident, heightening the intrigue of this already contentious case.

In the UK, solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and barristers by the Bar Standards Board (BSB). The principles in their respective codes of conduct would apply when writing and releasing any information online supporting a client.

Both sets of guidelines suggest that any attorney writing information in support of a client must do so with integrity and honesty. They must not mislead or deceive their audience. If the online information (which is available on google) could potentially influence ongoing legal proceedings, this could be seen as undermining the administration of justice. Also, making defamatory statements about other parties could lead to legal action.

However, these are general guidelines, and specific situations might involve additional ethical considerations or legal constraints. If an attorney is unsure, they should seek advice from their regulatory body, or from a professional ethics consultant or legal adviser before publishing information online about the case which is under trial.

One of the accused, Gurmit Singh commented on this matter. Singh stated, “We are still engaged in a legal battle in court, and any accusations cast upon us without substantiated proof are tantamount to defamation.”

He stressed the point further, saying, “As soon as we receive clearance from the court, we intend to initiate legal action against those lawyers who have allegedly attempted to manipulate the judicial proceedings.” Singh’s remarks highlight the increasing tension and the possibility of further legal action in this multifaceted case.

Singh disclosed that he has engaged with two legal firms that are ready to fight his defamation case against the website. These firms have agreed to take on Singh’s case under the contingency of a ‘no win, no fee’ basis, demonstrating their confidence in Singh’s position.

This arrangement entails that the legal firms will receive their payment only if they secure a victory in the case, suggesting a strong belief in the merit of Singh’s claims and his chances of successfully defending himself against these allegations.

In further comments, Singh raised concerns about the intentions behind the law firm’s actions. He asserted, “It’s clear that this law firm is primarily interested in marketing themselves. They appear to be leveraging this high-profile case as a means to gain popularity and attract new clients.”

Singh’s remarks suggest that the law firm may be using their involvement in the case and the dissemination of information around it as a self-promotion strategy, a claim that adds another layer of complexity to the unfolding legal saga.

The contentious information implicated Gurmit Singh and four others as the orchestrators of Mehul Choksi’s disappearance from Antigua and Barbuda, citing a police investigation report compiled in June 2021 by Inspector Adonis Henry as the basis for these allegations.

However, the legitimacy of this report is itself under scrutiny, with claims of manipulation circulating widely. The Hindustan Times, one of India’s leading newspapers, shed light on the matter by reporting that Choksi and Inspector Adonis Henry have been in contact since the investigation began and held multiple meetings during that period.

“Choksi has been scheming to illegally extend the court process in Antigua, by paying bribes to government officials, including senior Antigua police official, Adonis Henry,” the Hindustan Times reported. These claims are fuelling further debate about the credibility of the police report and the overall integrity of the legal process surrounding Choksi’s disappearance.

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