Judges of both the Supreme and Appeal Courts are said to be upset over the decision by Chief Justice Ivor Archie to proceed on an additional six-week vacation and are demanding answers about the “type’ of leave he has proceeded on.
Archie left the country last weekend. In his absence, Justice Allan Mendonca will act as Chief Justice from May 19t-June 7, when Mendonca himself will be out of the country.
Appeal Court Judge Alice Yorke Soo Hon will act from June 8-17 and Mendonca will act again from June 18-29-. Archie is due to return to office on June 30.
The Appeal Court has ruled in favour of the Law Association's appeal against a judge's decision to shut down its investigation into allegations of misconduct against Chief Justice Ivor Archie.
The ruling was handed down unanimously by acting Chief Justice Allan Mendonca and Justices of Appeal Peter Jamadar and Nolan Bereaux in the Appeal Court today.
The Appeal Court judges also dismissed Archie's judicial review application.
Embattled Chief Justice Ivor Archie has gone on vacation leave until the end of next month.
An email sent by his administrative secretary Shabiki Cazabon to Judges and Masters of the T&T Supreme Court yesterday, a copy of which was obtained by the T&T Guardian, advised that Archie would be out of the jurisdiction from May 19 to June 30 to continue his vacation leave, which was cut short due to his mother’s death earlier this month.
Chief Justice Ivor Archie has left the country on vacation until May 9th.
The confirmation came via a statement by the Judiciary.
The statement says: "The Hounourable Mr Justice Allan Mendonca J.A. will perform the functions of Chief Justice in the absence of The Honourable the Chief Justice Mr Justice Ivor Archie who is out of the country on vacation leave from Tuesday 20th March 2018 to Wednesday 9th May 2018."
The CJ had indicated that he would proceed on vacation leave after standing down his request for a controversial sabbatical leave.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has options to stop Chief Justice Ivor Archie from proceeding on a six month sabbatical leave approved by President Anthony Carmona.
A decision which has caused a firestorm of criticism within and outside the judiciary.
These options include directing the treasury not to pay the CJ for the six months, or triggering Section 137 of the Constitution, something which the government has maintained it would not do despite accusations in the public domain about the CJ.
Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Stuart Young says there is presently no existing term and condition to allow the Chief Justice to proceed on sabbatical leave.
Chief Justice Ivor Archie has applied for a six-month sabbatical which appears to have been approved by the Office of the President.
The Office of the President has since written to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, inviting him to consult on the appointment of an acting Chief Justice.
Attorneys for the Law Association of T&T (LATT) have told Chief Justice Ivor Archie’s attorneys he is not above the law and as with all public officials, is subject to public scrutiny. As such, contrary to the CJ’s position, the association, through its attorneys, says it is acting within its remit to “protect the interest of the legal profession in Trinidad and Tobago” by probing allegation against the CJ.
In an historic move, Chief Justice Ivor Archie has initiated legal action against the Law Association, saying it has no authority to investigate him, and has sought to block any further action by the association pending the outcome of High Court action.
But the association says the letter will not stop them from moving ahead and seeking advice on whether the allegations made against the CJ are enough to warrant the start of impeachment proceedings.