CDNIS Judges hammers school over secret letter; no settlement

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In our series on the CDNIS labour tribunal appearances, the judge addresses the propriety of a secret letter sent to the Bench. Not in a happy way.


In a short meeting at the Labour Tribunal today, the presiding magistrate, Mr Kenneth Chan, noted there was no settlement in the case between CDNIS and Kathy Nutting, former lower school vice principal – and then immediately raised the issue of a ‘secret’ letter sent to the Bench.

Mr Chan did not present the letter or detail its contents, but was firm in admonishing the school for a letter sent by lawyers, on behalf of the School, regarding reports in the press. Though the message was delivered in neutral and evenhanded language, the judge was clearly not impressed, advising Eunice Tan, Director of Business Administration, that the School’s lawyers have no right of audience and no right to speak to the judge in Labour Tribunal.

He advised them not to repeat the mistake and, if they had future issues with the press, to bring it directly to the press they had concerns with.

It should be noted that the only previous press report on this case was in Harbour Times. Ms Nutting was asked by the bench if she had received copies of the case. However, she indicated she had received no such communications.

The presiding magistrate indicated he had ‘no power to force anyone to a settlement’.

The case was adjourned until November 16, when CDNIS currently has another case on the same day, as indicated by Ms Tan. She used the opportunity to ask for a delay, by now a familiar modus operandi. The judge denied the request for a later date on those grounds.

The deadline for submitting new evidence is October 26. The hearing will be to advise both parties as they prepare for the trial, barring a change in position by the School.


Court Notes:

While the standard procedure is to ask people in court to turn off their phones and recording devices, it seems that a laptop is fair game. Ms. Melanie Hnetka took notes on her Macintosh laptop during the proceedings.

While the first case saw only one media present (Harbour Times), many more were in attendance on this occasion from Chinese and English language media.

CDNIS has a slew of cases at the Labour Tribunal, including v Kathy Nutting, v Sanjay Lalwani, v Dylan Hughes and another case, as of yet determined, that will see the School in the defensive position again on November 16th at 2:30pm (current schedule). Look for more coverage from Harbour Times and feel free to subscribe to support independent journalism.