Outspoken High Court Judge Frank Seepersad has called for a full and comprehensive investigation into how he was “bumped off” of the Judiciary’s random case assignment system.
Guardian Media understands that Seepersad made a complaint to Justice Ricky Rahim, who chairs the Case Calendaring and Management Committee after he realised that no new cases had been assigned to him for several months.
Sources said that clarification was sought and acting Supreme Court Registrar Kerri-Ann Oliverie-Stuart confirmed that Seepersad had been removed.
She also allegedly claimed that she could not determine the reason for Seepersad’s removal but noted that other judges had experienced similar issues in the past.
Guardia Media understands that after being told the explanation, Seepersad wrote to Oliverie-Stuart to call for an investigation as he said that the situation could lead to allegations of internal forum shopping.
“Ultimately far more harm will be occasioned to the integrity of the institution if this scenario is not expeditiously, systematically and comprehensively engaged and the perception of possible “internal forum shopping” is left to fester,” Seepersad said.
“Whether by accident or design, the situation which unfolded is untenable,” Seepersad said.
Guardian Media understands that one of Seepersad’s colleagues also weighed in the issue and suggested that the reason or lack thereof was unacceptable.
“I think the registrar should know that at least one judge believes that this is not good enough, the judge said.
Seepersad has since been restored to the system.
Last month, Seepersad was engaged in a public war of words with Chief Justice Ivor Archie over the continuation of the Judiciary’s move to forgo physical hearings except for domestic violence cases during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Seepersad advocated to hold physical hearings, in some cases, he claimed the reliance on virtual hearings reduced his ability to conduct approximately 12 trials per month as he did before the pandemic.
Archie defended the Judiciary’s position as he noted that physical hearings could compromise the health and safety of staff and by extension the Judiciary’s essential services.
However, he noted that the Judiciary was in the process of developing facilities for witnesses to give evidence remotely.