Sunday, February 18, 2018

Enough about that PCA leak

Express editorial logo390

Mark Fraser

The Attorney General and the Director of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) need to end their public row over the leaking of the PCA report into the Mervyn Cordner-led “Flying Squad” and allow the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to pronounce on whether his work has in any way been compromised by unauthorised release of the report.

With the Attorney General and the director of the PCA at loggerheads over whether the leak constitutes a breach of confidentiality, the public is left looking to DPP Roger Gaspard for an opinion.

It is possible that, the law being what it is, legal interpretations would support the views of both PCA Director Gillian Lucky and AG Anand Ramlogan. However, at a time when so many critical issues warrant public attention, the public interest is not being served by prolonged bickering between two legal minds who are holders of high public office.

Ms Lucky might be completely correct in her assertion that the report was not of a confidential nature and that the leak, though worrying, would not have damaged any future matter arising from it. But whether confidential or not, she must be troubled by the leak of a document originating from her office. We would therefore expect her to initiate an investigation into where, along the chain of the report’s creation and delivery to a senior counsel and the DPP, the report fell into unauthorised hands.

In this matter, the Attorney General needs to allow the PCA to do its work and to curb his instinct to inflame the situation by public statements regarding the PCA and its Director. As a politician who has relied on his fair share of leaked information and gone beyond the pale in disclosing sensitive personal information, the AG needs to do nothing more than express his concern and move on. Anything more than that smells like a witch-hunt against the PCA and its director.

Instead, the AG-PCA dispute has taken centre-stage at a time when the far more serious issue of the matters raised by the former Solicitor General needs to preoccupy the Office of the Attorney General.

More deserving of his attention right now are the concerns of an “unethical business venture” involving the State’s settlement of legal matters as raised by former solicitor general Eleanor Donaldson-Honeywell SC. The allegations contained in the letter sent to the Prime Minister following her resignation from the AG’s office cut directly to the heart of the integrity of the justice system. While it is not clear what action the Prime Minister has taken in response to such an explosive matter, the Attorney General should recognise the gravity of Ms Donaldson-Honeywell’s letter and occupy himself with dealing with matters that are under his direct responsibility.

The matter of the PCA leak cannot be resolved in the court of public opinion. It is up to the DPP to say whether his work has been compromised or for a judge to rule on the matter if it ever comes up in court. Beyond that, nothing more needs to be said.