Monday 13 July, 2020

Gov't to intervene in Judiciary debacle

The Government has decided to start the ball rolling to determine the way forward to address the 53 cases, some of which were partially heard, by former Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar.

Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs Stuart Young revealed this at the post-cabinet news conference on Thursday.

The fiasco between the JLSC and former Chief Magistrate became the subject of contention after it was revealed that Ayers-Caesar was appointed as a High Court Judge despite having 53 matters pending. On April 27 she resigned.

Minister Young noted that the Government had previously decided against interfering in the situation which saw the 53 cases being forced to restart at the Magistracy level.

According to Young, various stakeholders have pleaded with the Government to implement Legislation that would treat with the incident. He said, however, that during the meeting between Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar on July 18, the UNC leader stated that she would not support any such legislation.

Minister Young said having granted the various stakeholders sufficient time to come up with a solution to attend to the 53 cases, the Government has now decided to file an Interpretation Summons in the High Court next week, where it will open the floor for all stakeholders to issue submissions through the High Court, to the JLSC, to make a determination.

“We will be going to court, via the Attorney General, and we hope to file these proceedings next week where we will basically lay the facts out as we know it via affidavit to the High Court and we will set out what are the various provisions of the existing law that apply and we will then invite the High Court to make a decision and to come to a conclusion as to how these 53 cases should be dealt with going forward,” he said.

The Legal Affairs Minister, however, maintained that the Dr Keith Rowley-led regime will not have any further involvement in the case, apart from bringing it to the High Court.

 “We will not be the ones as the Government, arguing as to how it should be dealt with but rather, putting that at the doorstep of the Judiciary along with the facts and the law as it exists and we expect interested parties to come forward and then argue or make their submissions to the High Court and of course there is an appeal process all the way up to the Privy Council."

"We expect and we hope that everyone would participate with the Judiciary who will have management of this matter in having it dealt with as expeditiously as possible. The judiciary is in control and will be in control of these proceedings and we expect that all parties involved will do what is best for those persons who are directly affected by the 53 cases that are currently stuck at the magistracy,” he stated.

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