© — Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram
It was another tumultuous day in court for Brad Cabana, as he tried to get the judge to recuse herself from his constitutional challenge of the Muskrat Falls project.
Cabana blindsided lawyers and Justice Gillian Butler when he started Friday afternoon’s proceedings by saying she was in a conflict of interest and should recuse herself from the matter.
Cabana is being sued for defamation by former premier Danny Williams, and his old law firm, Roebothan McKay Marshall, is representing Williams. Butler is married to David McKay, who is a partner at the law firm.
Cabana is representing himself in court in both cases, as well as a third case, where he’s suing Premier Kathy Dunderdale and Tourism Minister Terry French for defamation.
Cabana ran for both the Progressive Conservative party and Liberal party leaderships in 2011, and eventually ran as a candidate for the Liberals in the 2011 election — he garnered 344 votes and failed to win the seat against Progressive Conservative Ross Wiseman.
In court this week, he’s been trying to make the case that certain aspects of the Muskrat Falls projects violate his constitutional rights.
The court was ready Friday afternoon to let Cabana cross-examine Nalcor vice-president Gilbert Bennett, but instead Cabana started off by asking Butler to recuse herself.
On Thursday, Butler ruled against Cabana several times. In one case, she threw out one of the central planks of his legal argument on the grounds that he hadn’t provided proper legal notification to the federal government, as is required by the law.
Cabana argued that because he’s not a lawyer and he’s representing himself, the courts have an obligation to assist him, and Butler wasn’t doing that.
He also said her decision could hurt his case against Williams.
“You have the ability, should I lose this action, to impose damages on me,” Cabana said. “And those damages could render me unable to defend myself in the case involving your husband’s law firm, as it represents Danny Williams and Alderon Iron Ore in that defamation suit.”
Cabana called one of her rulings on Thursday “arbitrary” and said he was “very disturbed” by another of her decisions.
Butler listened to it all, and only interjected once to gently inform Cabana that she is not able to award “damages” against him, only “costs” of the government, Nalcor and Innu lawyers arguing against him.
The case continues in Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court Monday at 10 a.m.