Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 11th 2017 Contents A12 news
guardian.co.tt Sunday, June 11, 2017
• From Page A7
24. At Ms Pierre’s office she prepared for me a res-
ignation letter and gave it to me. She also gave me a
media release under my name which had already been
prepared. I read both documents and when asked by Ms
Pierre as to whether I was satisfied, I replied “whatever”.
I then signed the resignation letter. I was distraught
and I felt that I had no real choice but to sign the let-
ter and accede to my resignation. By now it had been
made clear to me that my resignation had already been
orchestrated, and that this was a done deal.
25. I did not have any legal advice before I signed
the resignation letter and I was not given the option
to have any legal advice.
26. In the circumstances, it is clear to me my ‘resigna-
tion’ was a constructive dismissal, or rather, constructive
removal from office. I was told that if I did not resign
the JLSC would recommend to the President that my
appointment be revoked. In the law of Trinidad and
Tobago, if an employee is given the choice of resigning
or being dismissed, then she is treated as having been
dismissed. The same applies to office holders. The effect
of the JLSC’s actions was to dismiss me from my post.
27. Further, none of the allegations justifying my re-
moval set out in the statements of the Chief Justice
and the JLSC were put to me for a response before my
dismissal, and I was given no opportunity to say any-
thing in my defence. In particular it was not put to me
that I had acted unprofessionally in failing to maintain
or to provide a full record of my outstanding matters,
or that I had (whether intentionally or not) misled the
Chief Justice and the JLSC, or that these matters would
disqualify me from sitting as a High Court judge.
28. These failings are compounded now by the fact
that they are presented after the event as the justifi-
cation for my removal from office. The effect is that I
am now publicly condemned by the JLSC for the alleged
breaches without a hearing, and I am said to have ac-
29. In the circumstances, it is my belief that my pur-
ported removal was unlawful and unconstitutional, and
my resignation letter is of no legal effect.
30. By s.137 (1) of the Constitution, a judge can be
removed from office only for inability to perform the
functions of office, or for misbehaviour, and further,
she cannot be removed except in accordance with the
remaining subsections of s.137. Just focussing on this
point alone, I do maintain, with great respect, that I
was not guilty of anything that could sensibly be said
to amount to misbehaviour (there is no question of
inability to perform the functions of office), and so for
this reason alone my effective removal from office was
31. Further, by s.137(2) the President is empowered
to remove a judge from office only where the question
of removal for inability to perform, or misbehaviour,
has been referred to the Judicial Committee, and the
Judicial Committee has advised the President that she
should be removed. Clearly, this has not happened here.
32. Further, by s.137(3) of the Constitution, the Pres-
ident cannot even refer the question of removal to the
Judicial Committee unless (a) the JLSC represents to
him that the matter should be investigated, (b) he then
sets up a tribunal to look into it, and (c) the tribunal
recommends that he should refer the question of re-
moval to the Judicial Committee.
33. However, self-evidently none of these steps in
s.137(2) and (3) were taken, and so for this further
reason my removal is unlawful.
34. Finally, at all stages of the process, the require-
ments of the laws of natural justice must be followed.
Ayers-Caesar: My removal from office was unlawful
In particular, even before making a represen-
tation to the President that the question of
removal be investigated, the JLSC must treat
the judge fairly by informing her of the pro-
posed representation and the matters giving
rise to it, and giving her a chance to rebut
them: see the famous case of Rees v Crane
 2 AC 173.
35. I believe it follows that:
1) The JLSC made a decision to recommend
my removal to your Excellency the President,
which decision was unlawful and outside its
constitutional powers, because I was not
guilty of misbehaviour, and further, it set at
nought the fundamental protections in s.137
of the Constitution.
2) In any event, for the same reasons, the
consequent pressure put upon me by the JLSC
to resign was unlawful and unconstitutional,
as was the apparent orchestration of my re-
moval by the Chief Justice on behalf of the
JLSC (ie, by arranging the appointment with
your Excellency for me to take to you the
letter of resignation).
3) The JLSC acted in breach of the rules of
natural justice in making a decision to seek
my resignation, or putting me under pressure
to resign, without putting the case against
me or even warning me of it, and without
giving me any proper opportunity to respond.
4) Your Excellency’s subsequent acceptance
of my “resignation” was likewise unconstitu-
tional, for all the same reasons.
36. Accordingly, I do respectfully ask you to
consider these matters and respond to me as
a matter of urgency. I ask you to acknowledge
that my removal from office was unlawful and
unconstitutional and can have no legal effect.
See Page A19
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