Allegations against the Chief Justice …”NOT SO FAST, FARIS”

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Attorney General, Faris Al Rawi, seems to be jumping the gun when he says that Government will not act by initiating impeachment proceedings under section 137 of the Constitution against Chief Justice Ivor Archie.

His comment comes after the Law Association retained the services of two senior lawyers to decide whether to approach the Government to impeach the Chief Justice.

Al-Rawi said while section 137 of the Constitution was used in the past by an executive, it was on the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

He added, “In this current scenario we have received no such intervention by any entity, nor have we seen anything to trigger 137 pursuant to the Constitution”

He recalled that on the last occasion the executive acted under 137, in the matter involving former Chief Justice Sat Sharma, then Prime Minister Patrick Manning came in for massive criticism by the UNC. It was reduced to allegations of race, allegations of interference in the Judiciary. But it was a DPP that told the then Prime Minister to take the action that he did.

Sharma had been accused of interfering in a criminal case involving former prime minister Basdeo Panday and was eventually charged with a criminal offence. The case collapsed after the main witness, then Chief Magistrate Sherman McNicols, decided not to testify.

Al Rawi said he had taken note, of the conversation between the Law Association and members of the legal fraternity.

He said this is a matter which has to unfold and the government will act with propriety in the matter.

The Law Association has retained the services of two senior counsel to advise on whether allegations against Archie are tantamount to misbehaviour to invoke section 137 of the Constitution.

At a meeting on November 30, the Association told the Chief Justice that the Law Association viewed allegations against him in a serious light. It expressed concern that the gravity of the allegations coupled with his failure to respond had brought his office and the entire judiciary into disrepute.

His failure to respond, the association said, had led people to conclude there was some truth to the allegations.

The Chief Justice is accused of discussing with a matter of personal security for judges with someone who is not a judge, and that he had recommended two or more individuals for HDC accelerated housing granted.

The Chief Justice, in a media release issued on December 15, admitted he sought public housing for a number of needy and deserving people. He, however, described as false the allegation that he sought to influence judges to change their State-provided security to private security.

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IVOR ARCHIE

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