Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 11th 2017 Contents A4 news
guardian.co.tt Thursday, May 11, 2017
CJ must shoulder
Senior Counsel Martin Daly
yesterday hinted that the Judicial
and Legal Service Commission
(JLSC) should resign in the face
of the continuing saga involving
former chief magistrate Marcia
In a statement as debate on the
fiasco continued to rage in the legal
fraternity, Daly said in the wake of
the JLSC's statement on Tuesday
"it is time for these members to do
the honourable thing on account of
their grievous failures and their ini-
tial attempt to bully right thinking
persons into silence."
Daly was referring to the
JLSC's claims that Ay-
ers-Caesar had misled
them on how many part-
heard matters she had
to deal with before her
elevation to the High
Court on April 12.
He said the JLSC's
claims on the issue
was "little more than a
confession that it failed to
do independent due diligence of
its own and was duped as a con-
"This is obvious from the core
defence of the JLSC that: Reason-
able due diligence is satisfied by
seeking an assurance that the ap-
pointee has done all that is required
with respect to his/her profession-
al obligations to put themselves in
readiness to assume duty."
Daly added that it was only after
protest over the appointment that
the JLSC then belatedly had an au-
dit conducted of "the true state of
affairs." Simply described, the JLSC
put the cart before the horse when it
appointed Mrs Ayers-Caesar before
having such an audit done.
He again also challenged why the
JLSC would have wanted to "restore
someone who allegedly duped it to
the magisterial bench? Apparently
the JLSC has now seen the light in
this regard, but there are still out-
standing matters on which they
must account with respect to that
He said the JLSC's statement also
failed to deal with several questions
raised by their handling of the mat-
ter, which he posed within the re-
Daly's comment came even as
Pamela Elder SC also said Ay-
ers-Caesar's professional career
"has been destroyed and it is now up
to her to decide whether she exercis-
es her right to silence and be forever
tainted as a former chief magistrate
and judge who deceived the Judicial
and Legal Service Commission."
The T&T Guardian understands,
however, that Ayers-Caesar spent
part of yesterday meeting with her
legal counsel. However, all attempts
to contact her were unsuccessful.
Elder said she was concerned
about the unanswered questions
which arose out of the JLSC press
release on Tuesday.
She said if the CJ and JLSC found
that in giving wrong information
Ayers-Caesar misled them and this
was "sufficiently grave to trigger the
disciplinary inquiry, they should also
have been considering misconduct or
misfeasance in public office.
"In light of that, it is difficult to
understand how they ignored the
misconduct and arrived at the deci-
sion to restore her to the magistracy.
The issue of suitability and integrity
would have been before them."
"Look at the consequences, the ef-
fect on the administration of justice,
how could one deliberately disrupt
the smooth administration of justice
and yet be restored as a judicial officer
in the magistracy?"
In its release, the JLSC said a sec-
ond list compiled by Acting Chief
Magistrate Maria Busby Earle-Cad-
dle found Ayers-Caesar had in excess
of 50 part-heard matters, many of
which "were quite substantial mat-
ters in which several witnesses had
already been cross examined."
This was different from the only
three part-heard matters and a few
outstanding "paper committals"
Ayers-Caesar initially told them
But Elder, who is head of the Crim-
inal Bar Association, said from the
time Ayers-Caesar spoke about "pa-
per committals, a trained legal mind
would have asked several questions
because red flags would have been
raised and sirens blazing."
She was also concerned the state-
ment indicated Ayers-Caesar was
asked to vet and approve the release
which she signed on April 27.
Elder said it was also clear the
"have not found a way to address the
part-heard matters" Ayers-Caesar
had left behind.
---See story on page A5
Daly, Elder probe JLSC in Marcia fallout
Among the 16 matters which
former chief magistrate Marcia
Ayers-Caesar dismissed in one
day at Couva before being ele-
vated to the High Court bench
were kidnapping and drug cases
against a police officers.
Judicial sources said most of the
cases were over 10 years old and had
been repeatedly adjourned because
of the non-appearance of police of-
ficers and other key witnesses.
A statement from the
Judicial and Legal Ser-
vice Commission on
Tuesday stated that it
was unusual for so many
cases to be dismissed in
The disclosure was made
public for the first time the
controversy broke about
as a judge that she had dis-
missed 16 matters on March
22, at the Couva Magistrate's
Court. She was appointed to the
High Court on April 12 and resigned
on April 27, after the JLSC learned
that she had left over 50 unfinished
However, a legal official, who has
intricate knowledge of the matters,
said most of the cases, if not all,
were over ten years old and were
constantly being adjourned because
of the absence of the virtual com-
plainant, the police complainant,
or witnesses, in some of cases wit-
nesses could not be found or there
was no state attorney appointment.
"Legally she was right to do it,"
said the official.
Some of the matters which were
dismissed involved a police officer
charged with kidnapping, another
police officer charged with mari-
juana possession, inquest matters
and private complaints brought by
T&T Guardian was told that Ay-
ers-Caesar would have dismissed
another set of matters prior to
March 22, but no details were im-
The JLSC, in a statement, claimed
Ayers-Caesar provided it with a list
of her outstanding matters.
However, after the prisoners' up-
roar at the Port-of-Spain Magis-
trates Court after her appointment,
an audit revealed that Ayers-Caesar
had over 50 matters outstanding
which was contrary to what she
had told them.
In a subsequent statement, Ay-
ers-Caesar apologised for the effect
her actions had on stakeholders.
JLSC, however, said Ayers-Cae-
sar will not be allowed to sit on the
bench of the Magistrates Court as
it gives further consideration to
several issues raised.
Pamela Elder, SC
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