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Daly: CJ can’t be above scrutiny of citizens
Any attempt to halt scrutiny of the allegations against Chief Justice Ivor Archie will take this country back 80 years, Senior Counsel Martin Daly has said.
Daly made the statement yesterday in response to a pre-action protocol letter issued by Archie’s legal team to the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago (Latt), stating that the association’s investigation into Archie has “undermined and in future will further undermine the confidence in, public opinion and support for the administration of justice.”
Former attorney general John Jeremie, SC is leading Archie’s legal team.
Daly yesterday gave his take on the ongoing situation.
“For many months, I have been commenting on the likely damage to the Judiciary first as a result of the appointment and purported resignation of Marcia Ayers-Caesar as a High Court Judge and, shortly after that, separate allegations about the conduct of the Chief Justice,” Daly stated.
“Somewhat belatedly, but welcome nonetheless, the Law Association stirred itself to examine and ultimately comment on the conduct issues. It has now received a threat of litigation from the Chief Justice if it continues its work. The Association has commendably declared its intention to resist the threat.”
Daly said we cannot go back to the “dark ages” by not scrutinising Archie’s conduct.
“The Chief Justice cannot be placed above the scrutiny of citizens or representative bodies. That is in essence the response of the Law Association to the threat of the Chief Justice to seek the assistance of the court to restrain the association from examining and expressing its view as to whether there is a case for section 137 of the Constitution to be triggered,” Daly stated.
“In my view, any attempt to halt scrutiny of the allegations against the Chief Justice would be an attempt to set the clock back 80 years to a time when a contempt of court verdict was rendered against the editor of the Trinidad Guardian for criticism of a judicial decision.
“The verdict was thrown out by the Privy Council in a decision containing the famous dictum that justice is not a cloistered virtue and must be open to outspoken scrutiny.”
Daly said we must stimulate a culture of actions having consequences.
“Surely the dictum applies with equal force to the scrutiny of the administration of justice and its personnel as it does to decisions of the court,” Daly stated.
“We must not go back to or remain in the dark ages of lack of accountability. We must stimulate a culture of actions having consequences if consequences are warranted.”
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