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Lawyers want answers on status of probe into CJ’s conduct

Friday, February 16, 2018

Members of the legal profession are calling for answers from the Law Association on the ongoing investigation into allegations made against Chief Justice Ivor Archie.

Several senior and junior attorneys told the T&T Guardian they are angry the association has not been keeping the membership up to date on the investigation which started several months ago.

They say the election for a new executive is due in mid-March and they want the current leadership under Douglas Mendes SC to say what has happened with the investigation.

It is now more than a month since the association wrote to the CJ requesting answers to allegations about him in the public domain.

Archie issued a brief press release in December denying allegations against him, which include claims he sought to expedite Housing Development Corporation (HDC) housing for certain individuals and discussing judges’ security with Dillian Johnson, who was described as his friend and who has since sought asylum in the United Kingdom.

Johnson was shot in his hand in December at his Gasparillo home and subsequently claimed that there was a plot to kill him.

A committee comprising Mendes, association vice president Rajiv Persad, Elton Prescott, SC, Theresa Hadad and Lynette Seebaran-Suite submitted an interim report to the association’s council late last year. The committee’s findings were sent to Archie for his response and although there were reports the interim report would have been submitted to the membership that was not done.

Well-placed sources also said it seems the investigation has been stalled, as no brief has as yet been sent to the two Senior Counsel, former Belize attorney general Eamon Harrison Courtenay and Grenada Bar Association president Francis Alexis, who were retained to advise on whether there are sufficient grounds to petition Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to invoke the impeachment provisions of section 137 of the Constitution to investigate the CJ.

A meeting of the association’s council is carded for next Tuesday and attorneys say they are hoping to get an update on the investigation.

Contacted on the status of the investigation yesterday, Mendes said he preferred “not to give any update at this point.”


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