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Archie’s admission begs interrogation—Daly
At least two Senior Counsel are saying that the Government needs to act now on allegations in the public domain against Chief Justice Ivor Archie.
However, they are concerned that Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, and the government which he leads, may not want to make any moves now to initiate the removal of the Chief Justice because they do not want the sitting President Anthony Carmona to appoint a Chief Justice.
Senior Counsel Israel Khan said members of the legal fraternity are upset and are now “calling for a meeting of the Law Association for a vote of no confidence in the Chief Justice and calling upon the Prime Minister to trigger section 137 to have an investigation into his conduct.”
Khan said given what is in the public domain he is also “calling upon the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard to advise the Commissioner of Police to investigate the CJ’s behaviour, on whether he misconducted himself as a public officer.”
He said the eleven senior lawyers who met at the height of the Marcia Ayers-Caesar fiasco will now have to meet again. In his view, the CJ should “resign immediately.”
Ayers-Caesar, the former Chief Magistrate, was appointed a judge in April but resigned two weeks later after protest from prisoners whose cases were left undone. Last week, the CJ responded to the allegations in the public domain admitting that he forwarded the names of people to the HDC for housing.
He also denied making any recommendation for private security for judges and he called on those responsible to investigate allegations made by ex-con Dillian Johnson of a hit on his life. Johnson, the man at the centre of the allegations against the CJ, was shot outside his Gasparillo home three weeks ago. The CJ’s response brought little comfort to Martin Daly and Khan.
Senior Counsel Daly said, “the Chief Justice’s answers to the allegations cry out for interrogation.”
The CJ, he said, had failed to answer whether he had “dealings or relationships of any kind with named convicted persons.”
In the absence of denial, he said, “the allegations of association with persons convicted by the courts of which the Chief Justice is head cannot be ignored.”
Daly held fast to his position that it would be “constitutionally perverse to expect any member of the judiciary to function with the trust and confidence of the public interest if he has had dealings or relationships of that kind.”
He said the government may be reluctant to deal with the CJ issue because of a “lack of confidence in what appointment the current President might make to the Office of Chief Justice after the required consultations.”
“There is,” he said, “genuine concern given the peculiar nature of some of the current President’s decisions during his term.”
Khan agreed that the government may have adopted its “wall of China position” on the CJ issue “because it seems it is politically expedient for the Prime Minister not to impeach the CJ because they do not want the President to appoint the CJ in his own deliberate judgment...That is against the spirit of the Constitution.”
Under the Constitution, the Chief Justice is appointed by the President after consultation with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.
A release from the Judiciary last night said Archie left the country yesterday on private business. It did not state how long he would be gone for.
Justice of Appeal Allan Mendonca will act as Chief Justice in Archie’s absence.
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