Former chief magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar will have to wait until next year to learn the fate of her lawsuit against Chief Justice Ivor Archie and the Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC), over their allegedly pressuring her to resign as a High Court judge in 2017.
After the cross-examination of the JLSC’s three remaining witnesses was completed virtually before Justice David Harris yesterday, attorneys for the parties requested dates in January and February next year to file their respective written submissions.
The parties requested a date to present supplementary oral submissions. Harris declined, saying he would only facilitate this if he thought it was required after considering the written submissions.
Harris is expected to deliver his judgement on a date to be fixed once the filings are completed within the set time frame.
During yesterday’s hearing, Harris heard evidence from the JLSC’s former secretary Coomarie Goolabsingh, Archie’s former executive secretary Sherlanne Pierre and former High Court registrar Jade Rodriguez.
Goolabsingh recorded minutes of an emergency meeting held by the JLSC to discuss the issues caused by the part-heard cases Ayers-Caesar left behind upon taking up the appointment in April 2017.
While being quizzed by Ayers-Caesar’s lawyer Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, SC, Goolalsingh admitted she mistakenly wrote that the meeting ended at 3.45 when it in fact it ended three hours earlier. She admitted that although the error had been pointed out to her, she did not seek to amend her affidavit to address it. She also claimed she did not have any input in the meeting and merely played the role of a scribe.
Pierre, who has since been appointed at High Court Master, claimed she assisted Ayers-Caesar in preparing and printing her resignation letter to be delivered to then-President Anthony Carmona and a press release.
Pierre admitted she received a draft of the press release from the Judiciary’s Court Protocol and Information Department but claimed she offered Ayers-Caesar an opportunity to alter it.
“She looked at it and made changes, I printed it for her and she said ‘yes’. I told her the Chief Justice would also be preparing a release and she should look at it first. She said ‘no’, leave it as it is and go ahead with it,” Pierre said.
Pierre claimed that she could not remember consoling an emotional Ayers-Caesar, or telling her a personal story in an attempt to comfort her.
However, Rodriguez, who is currently a temporary High Court Judge, gave a slightly different version of the events.
Rodriguez, who claimed she was invited to the meeting by Pierre to serve as a witness, claimed she did see Pierre consoling Ayers-Caesar and sharing a personal story. She claimed that when Ayers-Caesar was given the documents to sign, she muttered “whatever”. She also admitted that she had concerns about the contents of the original version of the press release.
Maharaj asked: “You told her (Ayers-Caesar) that it made her look like a liar and you had serious problems with it.”
Rodriguez answered: “Yes I did.”
Maharaj asked: “She (Pierre) had told you it had been worse and that she had to “soften” it up.”
Rodriguez answered: “Yes, she did.”
Ayers-Caesar is being represented by Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, SC, Ronnie Bissessar and Vijaya Maharaj.
Archie and the JLSC are being represented by Russell Martineau, SC, Deborah Peake, SC, Ian Benjamin, SC, Ian Roach and Marcelle Ferdinand.
Reginald Armour, SC, Ravi Nanga, Ravi Heffes-Doon, Zelica Haynes-Soo Hon and Diane Katwaroo are representing the AG’s Office.