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Law body adopts cautious approach

Published: 
Monday, December 18, 2017

The Law Association says it will await the outcome of the work of a committee set up last week to look into and verify allegations made against Chief Justice Ivor Archie before it decides on its next course of action.

Speaking to the Guardian yesterday President of the Association Douglas Mendes says as part of its work to verify the allegations made against the CJ, “will be speaking to those who it appears from the newspapers may know something.”

As part of the due process of law, he said, the committee will also give the Chief Justice “an opportunity to be heard,” but he could not say whether this would be done via a face-to-face interview or questions sent to the CJ for his response.

Reminded that the CJ appears to take an inordinately long time to respond to questions as happened during the Marcia Ayers-Caesar issue, Mendes said “We have no control over how long he takes to respond,” but due process must take its course.

Last Thursday, the Council of the Law Association met indicating its own “increasing alarm” at the allegations of improper conduct levelled directly and by implication against the CJ. Describing his continued silence as “nothing short of reckless.”

It expressed particular concern in the allegation that he intervened to “obtain preferential treatment in the distribution of public housing to his acquaintances.”

Last Friday, the CJ issues a response to the allegation admitting that he had forwarded the names of people to the HDC for housing. He also responded to allegations about a discussion with judges for a change in security arrangements and the issue of private security which he denied and called on those responsible to investigate an allegation made by Dillian Johnson that people were plotting to kill him, Johnson.

Asked his view on the responses of the CJ especially in light of his admission to forwarding the names of people for public housing, an allegation which the Council of the Law Association had taken issue with, Mendes said he preferred to wait on the outcome of the work of the committee. “We will see what comes out of that,” he said.

Based on the findings of the committee, he said, “the council will then decide on its next step.”

In its release last Thursday the Council of the Law Association pointed to Section 5 of the Legal Profession Act which mandates that the purposes of the Law Association include representing and protecting the interests of the legal profession and promoting, maintaining and supporting the administration of justice and the rule of law. 

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