Trinidad and Tobago chief justice under fire

By Caribbean News Now contributor

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad — Trinidad attorney at law Criston Williams has sent a pre-action protocol letter to the Solicitor-General’s office threatening to file a constitutional motion against Chief Justice Ivor Archie and the judiciary over astonishing three- and four-year delays in the handing down of appeal judgments.

The delays allegedly breached his clients’ constitutional rights, Williams said.

Chief Justice Ivor Archie
Chief Justice Ivor Archie

In a second letter, to the Supreme Court Registrar last Thursday, Williams said he intended to send a complaint to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, asking her to exercise her discretion under Section 137 of the Constitution, which deals with impeachment proceedings against a chief justice, the Trinidad Express reported.

Williams told the Express that the purpose of a pre-action protocol letter is to identify the issues in dispute and establish whether litigation can be avoided.

Two convicted men — Lester Pitman and Gerald Wilson –have been awaiting appeal judgments in their cases for three and four years, respectively.

According to court documents, judgment in Pitman’s case was reserved on March 4, 2010, by a three-judge Appeal Court panel comprising Archie and Justices Paula-Mae Weekes and Alice Yorke-Soo Hon.

Judgment was reserved in Wilson’s appeal on November 10, 2009, but to date the judgments have not been handed down, despite the men being incarcerated on Death Row, the Express reported.

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