Law Association to debate report on allegations against Chief Justice

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, (CMC) – The Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) has announced plans to hold a meeting next month to discuss the report of a two-member team that examined allegations against the Chief Justice, Ivor Archie.
The embattled Chief Justice had earlier this year challenged the LATT investigation of allegations of misconduct against him. But the matter was dismissed by both the Court of Appeal and the London-based Privy Council, which serves as the island’s highest court, paving the way for the association to continue with its investigation.
The LATT in a memo to its members said that the December 11 meeting will examine the report on misconduct against Archie and decide whether or not to pursue further action.
LATT had appointed former Grenada attorney general Francis Alexis and Eamon Courtenay of Belize, both Queen’s Counsels, to “direct the Council as to the course of action to be taken, if any.”
In the appeal to the Privy Council, the attorneys for Archie had sought to stop the investigations with the Chief Justice maintaining that there was apparent bias, bad faith and procedural unfairness in the association’s investigation.
But in its 16-page judgment, the Privy Council agreed with the Court of Appeal that the law association’s investigation cannot be equated with a judicial or quasi-judicial determination of legal rights and liabilities to which the conventional rules of natural justice apply.
“Nor was it necessary for the Board to consider the more difficult question of the extent to which public bodies are required to be impartial in carrying out their statutory functions,” the judgment read.
“Since the local courts in Trinidad and Tobago were far better placed than the Board to consider what the fair-minded and informed observer in Trinidad and Tobago would make of the matters complained of, it was not for the Board to disagree. However, even if the rules of natural justice applicable to the decisions of a judicial or quasi-judicial body did not apply, “public authorities do have a duty to carry out their statutory functions fairly.”
Media reports had linked Archie to discussing security arrangements for judges with a personal friend, and late last year, the friend, Dillian Johnson, told police that he had information on individuals who want to kill him.
Johnson had survived a gun attack at his home in Gasparillo in southern Trinidad.
Archie was also accused of attempting to fast-track Housing Development Corporation (HDC) applications for various people. He has denied discussing judges’ security but admitted to recommending people for HDC housing.

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