The Strategic Services Agency (SSA) has lost a bid to have a lawsuit by a former employee, who was disciplined for allegedly failing to reveal that he had sued the State over an injury on his previous job, dismissed at a preliminary stage.
Delivering judgement in an appeal brought by the SSA, Appellate Judges Nolan Bereaux, Judith Jones, and Mira Dean-Armorer ruled that High Court Judge Margaret Mohammed was right to dismiss its initial attempt reverse her decision to grant retired police corporal Fazal Ghany leave to pursue his case.
In its appeal, the State security agency contended that when Ghany’s lawyers initially presented the judicial review lawsuit before the judge, they withheld pertinent information related to the agency’s disciplinary procedure which he is claiming was not followed.
The judges ruled that Mohammed was correct in her assessment of the SSA’s disciplinary procedure which consists of an investigation, notification of charges, and an opportunity for the employee to be heard before a final decision is made.
They also ruled that Ghany’s failure to provide transcripts of the investigation was not detrimental to his case as he is alleging that the disciplinary process did not go past that stage, as required.
“He would have been faulted for material non-disclosure only if he had been notified in the course of the interview, that his case had moved from allegations to charge and he had chosen to conceal such notification from the court,” Dean-Armorer said.
According to his lawsuit, Ghany worked as a police officer before he applied for a job with the SSA in 2012.
In December 2006, Ghany suffered serious injuries after he slipped and fell down a flight of stairs at the Anti-Kidnapping Squad’s Couva office. He was left partially paralysed and was forced to retire early in 2011.
Ghany sued the State after his compensation claim under the Protective Services (Compensation) Act was denied as his injury was not one listed under the legislation.
Ghany claimed that he informed the interview panel of the lawsuit when he was eventually interviewed for the post in the SSA, in January 2015.
Three months later, the Privy Council ruled in Ghany’s favour as it stated that Parliament made an error when it failed to include a provision, which takes into account injuries which were not contemplated at the time of the drafting of the legislation.
The Privy Council referred the issue to the Compensation Committee under the legislation to calculate compensation for Ghany.
However, Ghany was forced to file another lawsuit as there delay in appointing members of the committee.
High Court Judge Joan Charles ruled in Ghany’s favour and ordered the Government to immediately make the appointments and that the committee urgently consider Ghany’s case.
Ghany is claiming that days after his second legal victory, he was informed by SSA management that he was suspended with pay, pending an investigation into four disciplinary charges arising out of the lawsuits.
Ghany was accused of providing misleading information on his lawsuit during his recruitment interview and for alleged giving false evidence in his subsequent lawsuit before Charles.
Ghany was then informed that he was found guilty of the four disciplinary offences. However, he was not dismissed by the agency as his three-year contract was due to come to an end, that month.
Ghany is being represented by Jagdeo Singh, Dinesh Rambally, Stefan Ramkissoon and Kiel Taklalsingh.
The SSA is being represented by Randall Hector, Cherise Nixon, and Ryan Grant.