LEAD attorney for the Integrity Commission Deborah Peake SC said yesterday the judicial review matter brought against the Commission by its suspended deputy chairman Gladys Gafoor collapsed when she (Gafoor) gave evidence in court on Monday.
Peake also contended that the Commission acted properly when, on December 19, 2011, Gafoor was asked to recuse herself from hearing a complaint made against former attorney general John Jeremie SC.
Before Justice Vasheist Kokaram in the Port of Spain High Court, Peake said Gafoor's case was always on shaky ground.
"The evidence of the claimant (Gafoor) when she gave her oral evidence has caused this case to go crashing down," Peake said.
In her submission to the court, Peake said Gafoor's evidence demonstrated that her case had no reasonable chance for success.
Gafoor was granted leave by Kokaram in March to challenge the Commission's decision.
Jeremie had written to the Integrity Commission requesting that Gafoor and another commissioner, chartered accountant Seunarine Jokhoo, be removed from considering his matter.
The other members of the Commission—Ken Gordon (chairman), Prof Ann-Marie Bissessar and Neil Rolingson —agreed with Jeremie and Jokhoo recused himself. Gafoor, however, refused to follow suit.
Under cross-examination by Peake on Monday, Gafoor was asked whether she was annoyed when she saw the letter written by Jeremie to the Commission.
"I was not fazed by his letter, for the simple reason I had previously been a part of an adjudication in connection with Mr Jeremie in other complaints," Gafoor said.
"I advised the Commission, as the attorney, that there was no evidence to support the complaint against Mr Jeremie at the time, and they should so advise him that there was no evidence on which we could go forward as a Commission. It (the letter) did not matter to me because I was only one person of five on the Commission, but I was not annoyed."
Asked by Peake whether she thought Jeremie was attacking her integrity, Gafoor said she did not think so.
Gafoor said she did not think the issue of recusing herself arose since, as far as she was concerned, Jeremie did not provide evidence to support his contention that she should not sit on his case.
"I thought there must be support for an objection raised when one is asked to recuse oneself. I did not consider merit; I considered what his objections were and that he did not support them."
Gafoor also told the court she did not think the Commission had to consider the merits of Jeremie's objections, but it was for her to consider whether there were merits to support the request for recusal.
"Your position was that recusal was a matter for you and not for the others?" Peake asked.
Gafoor replied: "That is correct."
In her submissions, Peake told Kokaram it was clear Gafoor felt that Jeremie's request was not worth the paper on which it was written.
"In asserting that the decision to recuse herself was not the Commission's responsibility but hers, and hers alone, was inviting the Commission to bark up the wrong tree."
Peake also submitted that Gafoor failed to prove her fellow commissioners were biased towards her.
Representing Gafoor are attorneys Clive Phelps and Mark Seepersad, instructed by Nicole De Verteuil-Milne.
Appearing with Peake on behalf of the Integrity Commission are attorneys Ravindra Nanga and Marcelle Ferdinand.
The matter has been adjourned to November 8 when it is expected that Phelps will make his closing submission.