|JUDGE GILLIAN |
By Jada Loutoo Wednesday, September 3 2014
OUTSPOKEN attorney Gillian Lucky has resigned her position as director of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA), with immediate effect and is expected to be sworn in as a judge of the Trinidad and Tobago High Court.
But sources indicated yesterday that her appointment has created division within the Judicial and Legal Service Commission (JLSC) with one member reportedly going as far as asking President Anthony Carmona to halt her elevation. The JLSC is the body charged under the Constitution with appointing judges of the High Court. It comprises five members including Chief Justice Ivor Archie as chairman. Other members are: Dr Marjorie Thorpe, chairman of the Public Service Commission; retired judges, Annestine Sealy and Roger Hamel-Smith, and attorney David Patrick.
The dissenting JLSC member is said to have met with the President on Lucky’s appointment, and questioned whether she could be regarded as impartial as a judge, pointing to very strong political views she has expressed publicly in her newspaper columns and her television series.
The member also feels that the appointment should not be made while the investigation into the leak of a confidential PCA report on the operations of the Flying Squad is in progress.
The PCA under Lucky was severely criticised by several quarters earlier this year after the contents of its report on the introduction of a new Flying Squad in the Police Service were revealed in Parliament by Opposition Senator Faris Al-Rawi, back in April.
The Government questioned how the PCA report could have made its way to an Opposition Senator and the media but not the Prime Minister, the Attorney General or National Security Minister.
Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams back then ordered the investigation to determine whether a criminal offence was committed, and by whom, in the leaking of the confidential report.
Sources also told Newsday yesterday Lucky’s impending appointment as a High Court judge was met with concern amongst some members of the JLSC because of her outspokenness on matters relating to politics. Those who were cautious about her becoming a judge “at this time” suggested a cooling off period before the appointment could be made.
A former temporary judge, Lucky, tendered her resignation to President Anthony Carmona at 1 pm yesterday, a statement from the Office of the President said.
Notice of Lucky’s resignation has also been sent to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley.
According to the Office of the President, Lucky, in her resignation letter, stated, “Permit me to take this opportunity to thank Your Excellency and the Office of the President for all the support given to the PCA during my tenure as its Director.
“The opportunity is also taken to express sincere gratitude to all the stakeholders, including the media that have contributed to the effective and efficient operation of the PCA.
“Your Excellency is assured that I leave the PCA knowing that the Deputy Director and the members of staff will continue to fulfil the mandate of the PCA.
“I look forward to continue service to my God and my country …..” she added.
Sources have confirmed Lucky will be appointed a judge of the High Court and is expected to be sworn in on September 8, one week before the formal opening of the 2014-2015 Law Term. This event will take place on September 16 in Port-of-Spain with the usual pomp and ceremony. The occasion will include a service of divine worship at the Holy Trinity Cathedral on Hart Street, parade of judges of the High Court and Court of Appeal along Abercromby Street to the Hall of Justice where the Chief Justice will inspect a Guard of Honour drawn up on Knox Street and then give the traditional opening address in the Convocation Hall of the Hall of Justice.
Also expected to be sworn in as a TT High Court judge in a few weeks is Justice Margaret Mohammed who is currently serving in Grenada as a judge of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. Mohammed is the wife of Justice Vasheist Kokaram, and this will be the first time in the country’s history that a husband and wife will be presiding on the local bench. Himself a former judge, President Carmona, who will swear in the two women as judges of the Supreme Court, also raised with the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader, the need for the appointment of a new director of the PCA.
He further intimated that failure by both Persad-Bissessar and Rowley to so advise jointly on a replacement would trigger his statutory and constitutional power to appoint a Director after consultation with them.
Already, the President is being lobbied to appoint former head of the Central Authority, attorney David West, for the position now left vacant by Lucky.
Efforts to reach Lucky proved futile yesterday as calls to her mobile phone went unanswered and messages sent to her via text messaging were not returned.
Lucky, 47, has served as Senior State Counsel at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, a Government Senator, Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs, Opposition Member of Parliament, newspaper columnist, television host, and principal of the Academy of Tertiary Studies (ATS).
Lucky was also the chairman of the Omnibus Legislation Committee, chairman of the Committee for the Regularisation of the Home Video Industry, and a member of the Crime and Justice Commission.
Her father, Justice Anthony Lucky, is a retired High Court judge and is a judge of the United Nations International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.
Mohammed was an associate attorney at Alexander, Jeremie and Co from 1995 to 1997, and also served as Assistant Registrar, Supreme Court of TT, from 2001 to 2011; acting Registrar of the Tax Appeal Board in 2003, acting Deputy Registrar of the Supreme Court of TT in 2010 and Master of the Supreme Court from 2011 to 2012 after which she became a High Court judge of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. It is understood she will be sworn in as a TT judge in October.