CJ to be grilled in Ayers-Caesar’s case

Thursday, May 23, 2019 - 06:00

Lawyers rep­re­sent­ing for­mer chief mag­is­trate Mar­cia Ay­ers-Cae­sar have been giv­en the green light to cross-ex­am­ine Chief Jus­tice Ivor Archie in her on­go­ing case where she claimed she was pres­sured to re­sign af­ter to her ap­point­ment as a judge in 2017.

In a 28-page judge­ment de­liv­ered at the Hall of Jus­tice in Port-of-Spain, on Wednes­day, Ap­pel­late Judges Pe­ter Ja­madar and Gre­go­ry Smith ruled that pre­sid­ing judge David Har­ris made an er­ror when he de­nied Ay­ers-Cae­sar the op­por­tu­ni­ty to ques­tion Archie over his claims in the case.

Ja­madar, who wrote the judge­ment, sug­gest­ed that the process was nec­es­sary based on a strong dis­pute be­tween the par­ties over what tran­spired when Ay­ers-Cae­sar ten­dered her res­ig­na­tion on April 27, 2017 af­ter it was dis­cov­ered she left 53 cas­es un­fin­ished.

“There is no ap­par­ent mid­dle ground in their ex­pe­ri­ences and rec­ol­lec­tions of the mat­ters in dis­pute be­tween them. Both have sup­port­ing tes­ti­mo­ny. Both lay claim to cor­rob­o­rat­ing ev­i­dence.

Each in­sists that the oth­er is mis­tak­en and wrong and that all of their as­ser­tions are ac­cu­rate and right,” Ja­madar said.

He sug­gest­ed that cross-ex­am­i­na­tion would be vi­tal in help­ing Har­ris de­ter­mine the “ex­cep­tion­al and ex­tra­or­di­nary” cir­cum­stances of the case.

While Ja­madar and Smith al­lowed the cross-ex­am­i­na­tion, they stat­ed that it should be lim­it­ed to the fac­tu­al dis­putes in the case.

In ad­di­tion to Archie, Ay­ers-Cae­sar is al­so be­ing al­lowed to ques­tion the ev­i­dence of three of the JLSC’s wit­ness­es — its sec­re­tary Coomarie Goolab­s­ingh and Archie’s for­mer as­so­ciates and cur­rent High Court Mas­ters Sher­lanne Pierre and Jade Ro­driguez.

As a sec­ondary is­sue in the ap­peal, Ja­madar and Smith were al­so asked to re­view Har­ris’ de­ci­sion to de­ny Ay­ers-Cae­sar’s oth­er ap­pli­ca­tion to make a mi­nor amend­ment to her claim.

Ja­madar ruled that the amend­ment was based on new ev­i­dence from the JLSC, which was dis­closed af­ter the law­suit was filed and that it was in keep­ing with Ay­ers-Cae­sar’s over­all claims against the JLSC.

“It is very dif­fi­cult to un­der­stand why this amend­ment was re­fused...The amend­ment makes es­sen­tial­ly the same claim, ex­cept it was re-framed in terms of the con­tent of the three de­ci­sions now dis­closed in the min­utes of the JLSC,” Ja­madar said.

Ja­madar al­so sug­gest­ed that Har­ris ex­pe­dite the case as it has not yet sched­uled to go to tri­al.

“It is our hope, that it will be giv­en the un­con­di­tion­al pri­or­i­ty that it de­mands in the na­tion­al in­ter­est, and heard and de­ter­mined with­in as short a time as is rea­son­ably pos­si­ble,” he said.

Ay­ers-Cae­sar is be­ing rep­re­sent­ed by Ramesh Lawrence Ma­haraj, SC, and Ron­nie Bisses­sar, while Deb­o­rah Peake, SC, and Ian Ben­jamin, SC, are rep­re­sent­ing the JLSC and Archie.

Reporter: Derek Achong