Law Association looking at possibility of impeaching Chief Justice

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Dec 19, CMC – Less than a week after the Chief Justice Ivor Archie publicly denied several reports in the media including the security of judges, the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) says it will retain two senior lawyers to examine the possibility of approaching Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to initiate impeachment proceedings against him.
In an email sent to its members, LATT secretary Elena Araujo said the committee set up to investigate the allegations will report to the Council on or before December 29 and two senior lawyers will be retained to advise on the question of whether there is sufficient basis to refer a question of misbehaviour by the Chief Justice to the Prime Minister for his consideration under Section 137 of the Constitution.
Araujo said that upon receiving the advice from the committee, the LATT will convene a meeting of the general membership to “consider such advice and obtain directions as to the way forward.”
Last Friday, Chief Justice Archie, indicating that he is not at “liberty’ to say much at this time, denied media reports regarding the security of judges in Trinidad and Tobago.
“Specialised Units of the Trinidad and Tobago Protective Services and the Judiciary Security Unit are the only entities responsible for assessing and implementing arrangements for the personal security of Judges and Magistrate.
“It is therefore false, and indeed irresponsible that at any Judge’s meeting, the Chief or any other Judge discussed the retention of any private security firm for the purpose of providing the said personal security,” Archie said in a brief statement.
In November, the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) called on Chief Justice Archie to publicly address allegations in the local media, particularly the Sunday and Daily Express newspapers, that he discussed security arrangements for judges with a personal friend.
Media reports in recent days have linked Chief Justice Archie to discussing security arrangements for judges with a personal friend and earlier this week, the friend, Dillian Johnson, told police that he had information on individuals who want to kill him.
Johnson had recently survived a gun attack on him at his home in Gasparillo, in southern Trinidad.
In his statement, the Chief Justice said “more recently there has been discussion in the public domain about an attack on Dillian Johnson. The Office of the Chief Justice expects the relevant authorities will urgently conduct a necessary and thorough investigation into this incident”,
Last Thursday, the LATT said that it was increasingly alarmed at allegations of improper conduct levelled directly and by implication against him, as head of the Judiciary.
“Of particular concern is the allegation that he has intervened to obtain preferential treatment in the distribution of public housing to his acquaintances.”
But in his statement, the Chief Justice noted in 2015 he “did forwa5rd the names of some needy and deserving persons to the Trinidad and Tobago Housing Development Corporation (HDC) for such consideration as might be appropriate.
“At no time has Chief Justice Archie ever recommended Mr. Dillian Johnson for HDC housing. It is patently untrue and appears to be purposeful mischief making for one to suggest otherwise,” he said, adding “that is all that the Chief Justice is at liberty to say at this time”.
In its latest correspondence, the LATT said that it had decided to take the decision to examine the possibility of impeaching the Chief Justice because of the public ridicule being heaped on the entire Judiciary as a result of the allegations.
The LATT said that on November 30, its president Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes and two other members met with Chief Justice Archie to discuss the association’s concern over the current situation.

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