Judge rules: Law Association cannot probe CJ

Justice Nadia Kangaloo has ruled that the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) does not have the power to investigate allegations of misconduct against Chief Justice Ivor Archie.

The judge said no such power is vested under the Legal Professions Act, and as such, the Law Association’s probe is considered null, void, and irrational in law.

As a result, the Law Association has been barred from continuing with its investigation.

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The ruling came down late on Tuesday in the Hall of Justice, Port of Spain.

Given the ruling, the planned March 15 meeting of the Law Association, where members were to be advised by two Queens Counsel on the way forward, has been cancelled.

Archie went to court last week seeking to have an urgent ruling blocking LATT from conducting an investigation into him.

Archie, through his attorneys Raisa Caesar, John Jeremie SC, Keith Scotland, Ian Benjamin and Kerwyn Garcia, filed an application of urgency, along with an application seeking leave for a judicial review.

Archie’s attorneys argued that the Law Association did not have any power under the Legal Profession Act to investigate him, as such power lies in Section 137 of the Constitution. Under Section 137, the President appoints a tribunal after misconduct allegations against a Chief Justice are referred by the Prime Minister.

Archie has been embroiled in controversy stemming from exclusive Sunday Express reports which alleged that he attempted to persuade judges to change their State-provided security in favour of a private company which would have benefited his convicted fraudster friend Dillian Johnson.

The Chief Justice is also alleged to have intervened to ensure that Housing Development Corporation (HDC) applications were fast-tracked for several individuals.

Archie denied these claims via a news release but has refused LATT’s call to directly respond to the allegations.

LATT proceeded to appoint a sub-committee to investigate the allegations and has identified two Queen’s Counsel to whom it will turn to determine if the allegations are sufficient to trigger impeachment proceedings under Section 137 of the Constitution.

Archie’s application came on the heels of a notice in the newspapers sanctioned by the Council of the LATT inviting its members to a special general meeting on March 15 at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s, to discuss allegations of misconduct and the contents of an independent report into Archie.

According to the documents filed, Archie sought a declaration that the said decision to launch an investigation by the LATT, “…is illegal and/or ultra vires and/or unreasonable and/ or irrational and /or contrary to the provisions of the Legal Profession Act and is null and void.”

Archie asked for an order of certiorari to quash the decision; costs and “such other orders, directions, declarations and writs as the court considers just and as the circumstances warrant and a stay of the said decision and of the LATT’s enquiry and/ or investigation, pending the determination of these judicial review proceedings.”

Source: Trinidad Express http://www.trinidadexpress.com/20180306/news/judge-rules-law-association-cannot-probe-cj

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