Friday, December 15, 2017

Probe CJ and Marcia, says Khan

A POLICE investigation should be immediately launched to determine whether Chief Justice Ivor Archie and former chief magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar may have committed the common-law criminal offence of misbehaviour in public office in relation to issues surrounding Ayers-Caesar's elevation to the High Court Bench and her subsequent resignation.
Khan said he was calling on Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard SC to invoke his powers under section 90 of the Constitution and make a request of the Commissioner of Police to assign a senior officer to lead an investigative team into the conduct of both Archie and Ayers-Caesar.
This, he said, was necessary given the conflicting and changing information being given to the public by both the Office of the Chief Justice and Ayers-Caesar in relation to the circumstances surrounding Ayers-Caesar's promotion on April 12, followed by her resignation on April 27.
In a letter to Gaspard, Khan said the pertinent fact which should trigger the investigation against Ayers-Caesar is in the public domain via a press release issued by the Office of the Chief Justice.
In that release, Archie stated that prior to Ayers-Caesar being appointed to the High Court Bench, she indicated to the JLSC that she had only two summary cases and a few paper committals before her in her capacity as Chief Magistrate.
“The Office of the Chief Justice subsequently revealed (after the violent protestations in open court by several accused persons on murder charges which were part-heard by Marcia Ayers-Caesar) via another official press release that she had left in abeyance 53 outstanding part-heard matters. Simultaneously with this press release, it was revealed that Mrs Ayers-Caesar had resigned her position as a judge of the High Court. And it was also divulged to the public via official press release from the office of the Chief Justice that the Judicial and Legal Service Commission (JLSC) was contemplating disciplinary proceedings against her.
Constitutional mess

“It is instructive that retired chief justice Michael de La Bastide stated in a press interview via the print media on Monday, June 5 that disciplinary action could be taken against the former chief magistrate for misleading the Chief Justice and the members of the JLSC vis--vis her pending part-heard matters,” said Khan.
He went on to say that if a police investigation were to reveal that Archie was speaking the truth, then Ayers-Caesar may have committed misbehaviour in public office since, based on what was said by Archie, it suggests that Ayers-Caesar deliberately withheld from him and other members of the JLSC that there were in fact 53 part-heard matters before her at the time of her elevation.
“The Chief Justice, by implication, is telling us that the former chief magistrate lied to him in order for him and the JLSC to recommend her swearing-in as a judge. In other words, he is saying that she could not have cared less. She had pulled wool over their eyes. Thus she was selfish and irresponsible,” the letter stated.
Further to that, the attorney said subsequent to Archie's explanation for recommending her appointment to the High Court, it was revealed in newspaper reports last Sunday by Ayers-Caesar that she had informed Archie that she had left 28 outstanding part-heard matters.
“By implication, she is saying that the learned Chief Justice is a stranger to the truth when he told all and sundry that she had told him that her part-heard matters constituted only two summary cases and a few paper committal matters. Most alarming of all, the former chief magistrate stated that she was forced to resign as a judge of the High Court and she was told that she would be restored as a magistrate to complete her part-heard matters and then latter be reappointed to the High Court.
“Who is speaking the truth in all this Ivor Archie/Marcia Ayers-Caesar constitutional mess? Who is to be blamed for this sordid affair?” Khan asked.
“Honourable DPP, I humbly suggest that you note that only a meticulous police investigation would reveal the true facts as to who misled whom and who is to be blamed and, most of all, who misbehaved in public office. Thus both the Chief Justice, Mr Ivor Archie, and the former chief magistrate, Mrs Marcia Ayers-Caesar, should be included as persons of interest in a police investigation vis--vis misbehaviour in public office,” he said.