It has come as no surprise!
The public rumblings in the Judiciary with regards to former Chief Magistrate/Judge, Marcia Ayers-Caesar, seems to be heading to court.
Many in the legal fraternity know that Ayers-Caesar would not be taking her departure from the Bench lightly.
From the moment she went to see former Attorney General, Ramesh lawrence Maharaj, everyone knew that Ayers-Caesar would be putting on her court clothes again.
So what does Marcia want?
She wants her job back. Which job? Chief Magistrate or High Court Judge?
In two pre-action protocol letters delivered last Friday, Ayers-Caesar says if she is not reinstated as a judge then she will be suing for compensation for loss of office and the benefits that go with it, in addition to claims that she is entitled to be a judge. She will also be suing for the damages to her reputation.
Ayers-Caesar intends to sue President Anthony Carmona and the Judicial And Legal Service Commission (JLSC).
The JLSC comprises Chief Justice Ivor Archie, Roger Hamel-Smith, Humphrey Stollmeyer, Ernest Koylass, and chairman of the Public Service Commission (PSC), Maureen Manchouk.
On May, 19 Ayers-Caesar wrote to Carmona stating that her removal as a High Court judge was unlawful and unconstitutional and that she was put under pressure to resign. Ayers-Caesar said her resignation was therefore of no legal effect.
But in her pre-action letter, Ayes-Caesar said “the President has refused to recognise that (Ayers-Caesar’s) resignation and removal from office were of no effect. In so refusing, he has misdirected himself in law and misdirected himself as to his powers under the Constitution.”
In March, Ayers-Caesar was informed by the JLSC that she had been selected for appointment as a High Court judge. Her swearing in was scheduled for April 12.
On April 10, two days before the swearing in, Archie called Ayers-Caesar and asked her if she had any part-heard matters because “Ramdeen and them making a bacchanal”.
“(Ayers-Caesar) understood the Chief Justice to be referring to Senator Gerald Ramdeen and some members of the legal profession and the public making criticisms of judicial appointment and the manner in which appointments were being made,” the letter to the JLSC stated.
On April 11, Ayers-Caesar provided Archie with a list of 28 matters she had outstanding.
She was sworn in as judges by Carmona on April 12.
On April 25, Archie called Ayers-Caesar to a meeting with the acting Chief Magistrate Maria Earle Busby-Caddle where they produced a list showing 52 matters outstanding.
During a meeting on April 27 with Archie, Ayers-Caesar was told that the JLSC decided that either she tender her resignation as a judge or the JLSC would advise Carmona to revoke her appointment.
Ayers-Caesar was given a resignation letter and a media release which had been prepared for her to sign.
Ayers-Caesar’s resignation letter was signed by her after the JLSC decided that she must resign or it would revoke her appointment as a judge.
According to the pre-action protocol letters, the JLSC had no jurisdiction to remove Ayers-Caesar as a judge unless it complied with Section 137 of the Constitution which required that a tribunal had to be appointed to investigate whether the judge misconducted herself in office, and only the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council could have decided for her to be removed.
According to the letters, Ayers-Caesar’s resignation letter, therefore, had no legal effect because her removal was unconstitutional and in violation of Section 137 of the Constitution.
In addition, since she was not given a hearing before the commission made its decision, she was denied the rules of natural justice and the protection of the law as guaranteed in Sec 4 B of the Constitution.
Ayers-Caesar submitted her resignation letter to Carmona that day.
Ayers-Caesar said Carmona participated in the JLSC’s unconstitutional actions and unlawful pressure by accepting the resignation letter.
Archie told Ayers-Caesar that he was under pressure from Carmona and that the President wanted him to procure her resignation.
The letters states; “The President must have known from the very quick sequence of events that in very short order: first, the JLSC had met and decided (without hearing from the Claimant); second, the Chief Justice had had a meeting with her on 27th April; and third, she was immediately thereafter on her way to a pre-arranged meeting with him. The President therefore knew that the Claimant had been given no time for reflection or consultation but had had the choice of resignation imposed swiftly upon her.”
Ayers-Caesar is contending that since her purported resignation was given as a result of unconstitutional action and duress, it was null and void, or at least, she was and is entitled to revoke it.
WHAT MARCIA WANTS
Ayers-Caesar wants to be reinstated as a High Court Judge. She is also seeking compensation which will include compensation for loss of office and the benefits that go with it (if she is not reinstated).