CJ hits back at 'rumour and innuendo'

Chief Justice Ivor Archie said he has been the subject of "false and unsubstantiated allegations" but had exercised restraint in the face of suggestions that he had been guilty of misconduct in office.

In his address at the opening of the Law Term at the Hall of Justice in Port-of-Spain, Archie commented on his legal battle with the Law Association of T&T after the group sought to investigate the allegations.

"It has never been my position that I am not accountable," he said. "All too often rumour and innuendo, when continually regurgitated, miraculously assumes the mantle of fact."

The CJ added: "As you aware the judicial committee of the Privy Council has reaffirmed that I am accountable in accordance with the Constitution."

Archie said despite these issues he will continue to do his duty and he urged all other stakeholders to do the same.

He said he disagreed with several elements of a report from the Law Association about a lack of diversity on the judicial bench.

"Although it contains some helpful observations with which I am in general agreement, I find myself unable to agree with several of its implicit and explicit assumptions," Archie said.

"The report, without comment or justification, purported to assign ethnicities to the members of the bench to measure its concept of diversity. To the extent it was based on committee observations it is . . .  neither useful nor scientific."

He added: "Race is not a concept accepted by reputable science nor can it be a valid criteria for judicial appointment."

The CJ  said the Law Association report seemed to suggest there was a very diverse bench with the exception of the appellate court.

"At the High Court bench there is no shortage of females while at the appellate bench, past historical trends for entry into the profession, and not any bias in the entry process, given the length of experience required to be an appellate judge."

-  by Peter Christopher

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