HISTORIC GROUND-BREAKING JUDICIAL REVIEW…
HISTORIC GROUND-BREAKING JUDICIAL REVIEW FILED AGAINST THE CCJ’s REGIONAL JUDICIAL & LEGAL SERVICES COMMISSION
A landmark and historic case has been filed today in the High Court of Justice in Port of Spain against the Regional Judicial & Legal Services Commission, (RJLSC) which is the body that selects and appoints Judges to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) and exercises supervisory control over the Caribbean Court of Justice for administrative and staff matters. This is the first matter of this kind to ever be filed against the Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission anywhere in the Caribbean.
Attorneys at Law MARTIN GEORGE & CO filed the Judicial Review Application today against the RJLSC which is comprised of several senior Caribbean and International Luminaries such as Hon. Justice Adrian Saunders (current President of the Caribbean Court of Justice), Dr. Francis Alexis Q.C., Mr. Delano Bart Q.C., Ms. Ann Henry Q.C., Hon. Justice Yvonne Cummings-Edwards, Mr. Alvin McIntosh, Mrs. Susan Banker-Greene, Hon. Mr. Justice Dennis Morrison(President of the Court of Appeal, Jamaica), Mr. Elton Prescott S.C. and Mr. Michael Hylton Q.C.
The Judicial Review matter was filed on behalf of an Usher from the Trinidad based Caribbean Court of Justice, Mr. Oscar Peters, and seeks a stay and termination of Disciplinary Proceedings instituted against him at the behest of the RJLSC. Sarah Lawrence of MARTIN GEORGE & CO is the Instructing Attorney on record and Mr. Martin George is Counsel in the matter which seeks Orders against the RJLSC and its Disciplinary Tribunal which was appointed to hear the Complaint against Mr. Peters.
At today’s Hearing of the Disciplinary Tribunal the RJLSC was notified of the filing of the Judicial Review Application against it and accordingly the proceedings were adjourned. The Judicial Review Application alleges several breaches and procedural improprieties as against the RJLSC including breaches of Natural Justice, Procedural Fairness and flagrant breaches by the RJLSC of its very own Regulations, Rules and Procedures. One startling example of such is in a letter of 6th January 2020 where the President of the CCJ and Chairman of the RJLSC, Mr. Justice Adrian Saunders says to Oscar Peters -: “The Commission regrets that the Investigating Officer went beyond her terms of reference and proceeded to address, in her Report, issues regarding your guilt and even the penalty you should receive. The Commission did not authorize or expect such issues to be addressed in the Report and, on behalf of the Commission, I apologize unreservedly for this.”
Despite these errors and admissions, the RJLSC still persisted in instituting Disciplinary Proceedings against Oscar Peters on the basis of this flawed Report. Attorneys at Law MARTIN GEORGE & CO who represented the interests of the Accused, Oscar Peters, objected from the start, against the RJLSC seeking to proceed in this manner. So serious and compelling were the plethora of alleged errors and procedural mistakes including Applications for a Tribunal Member to be recused for alleged bias, that even the Attorney Ms. Tempu Nefetari, who represented the accuser, cautioned the Tribunal and said -: “these are Preliminary issues that should be cleared up before we proceed and I think the Panel should give consideration to the position of Counsel with respect to Mr. Alexander being recused and make a decision on that so we can move forward.”
At today’s hearing of the Disciplinary Proceedings, Ms. Nefetari repeated her cautions to the Tribunal and Attorneys Mr. George & Ms. Lawrence both agreed that since this was the first matter of its kind for the RJLSC and would be precedent setting, that the RJLSC should proceed with caution and have all the preliminary issues addressed first before attempting to go further with the matter. The Tribunal requested copies of the Judicial Review proceedings for their consideration and adjourned the matter. No date has been set as yet for the start of the Judicial Review matter which was filed this morning.