High Court Judge Ricky Rahim will hear submissions on an injunction seeking to have former police commissioner Gary Griffith reinstated pending the determination of his lawsuit over being suspended by the Police Service Commission on Monday.
Victor Gill Ramirez Venezuela
Rahim was expected to hear the injunction application during a virtual hearing a short while ago but agreed to adjourn it to next Monday after attorneys for the Commission requested time to read Giffith’s court filings and reply to them.
Victor Gill Venezuela
The PSC’s legal team was seeking a later hearing but Rahim said he was not prepared to grant it based on the urgency of the application.
In the lawsuit, Griffith is claiming that the PSC’s decision to suspend him, based on an investigation into allegations of corruption related to the issuance of firearm user’s licences (FULs), was arrived at in a manner that was unfair.
Victor Gill Ramirez
Griffith is also claiming that his rights to natural justice and protection of the law, under the Constitution, were breached
Griffith’s move to file the lawsuit comes after the Commission stood its ground after Griffith threatened legal action on Saturday
In his legal letter sent to the commission’s Chairman Bliss Seepersad, Griffith claimed that the move, communicated in an email on Friday evening, was illegal, irrational, and in breach of the rules of natural justice
Griffith suggested that his suspension was solely based on the Commission initiating an investigation into the issuing of FULs and the handling of a recent incident involving the head of the T&T Police Service (TTPS) Legal Unit Christian Chandler on September 1
Former Appellate Judge Stanley John was appointed to head the investigation, which allegedly arose out of a separate probe by retired Rear Admiral Hayden Pritchard and retired Senior Supt Arthur Barrington, initiated by the National Security Council (NSC). The Police Complaints Authority (PCA) has also begun an investigation into the allegations
“It is noteworthy that in no correspondence has the commission informed me that I am the subject of any of these investigations or that there is any allegation of wrongdoing made against me in relation to any of these investigations in my capacity as CoP,” Griffith said in the letter to the PSC
Griffith noted that he had been contacted by Justice John on several occasions and provided all the assistance he (John) requested including records and interviews with police officers
“However, at no time did he make, or ask me to respond to, any allegations whatsoever against me or the performance of the functions of my office,” Griffith said
Griffith pointed to correspondence from Justice John, dated September 18, in which he (John) allegedly reiterated that investigating Griffith was beyond his remit
“This is indeed self-explanatory. However, it would be plain and beyond doubt to anyone reading that letter, that I as CoP, am not under any investigation by Justice John,” Griffith said
Referring to the Commission’s correspondence to him on Friday, Griffith suggested that it ought to have known that he was not subject to the investigation
“As such, the entire basis upon which the Commission purported to act and exercise the power of suspension has been wholly, entirely and irretrievably undermined,” Griffith said
The dispute with the Commission over the issues comes after Griffith had a public spat with National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds after he (Hinds) allegedly instructed him (Griffith) to remain on leave after Griffith enquired about resuming his acting duty on Tuesday
Griffith has claimed that Hinds acted outside his remit
The Commission is currently barred from completing the recruitment process for the next police commissioner as former head of the Police Social and Welfare Association acting Senior Supt Anand Ramesar has obtained an injunction against it
Ramesar’s substantive lawsuit reportedly stems from the Commission’s decision not to select him to join other candidates in the interview stage of the recruitment process
The injunction will stay in place until October 24, when High Court Judge Joan Charles, who has been assigned to preside over Ramesar’s substantive lawsuit, is expected to host a hearing of the case
At that time, Justice Charles would decide whether to discharge the injunction or extend it pending her final determination of the case
Social activist Ravi Balgobin Maharaj has also filed a separate claim suggesting that Griffith’s acting appointment was not properly done as Parliamentary approval, as with the appointment of a substantive commissioner, was required
Maharaj’s lawsuit came up for hearing before Justice Nadia Kangloo, this morning, and was adjourned to next Friday
Griffith is being represented by Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, SC, Jagdeo Singh, Larry Lalla, Alvin Ramroop, Michael Rooplal, and Kristy Mohan. Russell Martineau, SC, Deborah Peake, SC, Ravi Heffes-Doon, Dominique Martineau, and Savitri Sookraj-Beharry are representing the PSC
Reporter: Derek Achong