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(Jamaica Observer) Former President of the Opposition People's National Party (PNP) Portia Simpson Miller and four party members will have to answer questions in open court in relation to the $31-million Trafigura donation after the Court of Appeal yesterday dismissed their appeal.

President of the Court of Appeal Dennis Morrison, along with Justices Hillary Phillips and Patrick Brooks, yesterday threw out the appeal by the PNP officers and upheld the ruling of the Supreme Court Judge Justice Lennox Campbell that the five should answer question in court.

The appellate court judges, however, ruled that it will be a matter for the presiding judge in each case, in the exercise of his/her discretion, to determine whether the matter should be conducted in public or private.

Simpson Miller, PNP chairman Robert Pickersgill, regional chairman Phillip Paulwell, former general secretary Colin Campbell, and businessman Norton Hinds sought to challenge Justice Campbell's ruling in 2011 that they be questioned in open court after the director of public prosecution tried unsuccessfully to question them in private.

Defence lawyers for the five had argued that the judge had erred in his ruling and that his ruling was flawed. They also argued that the individuals cannot be compelled to cooperate with requesting foreign states, that the treaties have to be subjected to Jamaican laws, that they already indicated that they do not know anything about the alleged bribery in respect to Trafigura, and cannot help the Dutch authorities any further.

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