Trinidadian judge blocks investigation of chief justice

A high court judge presiding in the Port of Spain Hall of Justice, Trinidad, has blocked an attempt by the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) from continuing its investigation into allegations of misconduct leveled against Chief Justice Ivor Archie.

Justice Nadia Kangaloo ruled that the LATT acted unlawfully and without authority by commencing an investigation against Chief Justice Archie.

She said the decision of LATT was illegal, unreasonable, irrational and contrary to the provisions of the Legal Profession Act and was null, void and no effect.

The LATT council had been advised to postpone its special general meeting carded for next week, in which a report on the investigation conducted by a sub-committee of council and advice on it from Dr. Francis Alexis, QC of Grenada and Eamon Courtenay, QC, of Belize, were expected to be presented for consideration.

The judgment is a legal victory for CJ Archie, who had challenged the probe since it was announced last December.

In her Judgment Justice Kangaloo ruled there was no law which empowered the association to conduct a “shadow” investigation into allegations made against a judge.

She agreed with Archie’s legal team that Section 137 of the Constitution was the only avenue for doing so.

Under Section 137, the President appoints a tribunal after misconduct allegations against a CJ are referred by the prime minister.

Archie is accused of trying to assist an ex-convict to obtain a house from the Housing Development Corporation (HDC).

LATT plans to appeal Justice Kangaloo’s decision.

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