Justice Gino Persaud this afternoon ruled that there were no grounds for the Police Service Commission (PSC) to withdraw from the case challenging the legality of the suspension of former Chairman of the PSC, Paul Slowe and the other Commissioners, as he dismissed two interlocutory applications filed by the Attorney General and the PSC.
“There are no reasonable grounds which would allow the Police Service Commission to withdraw the Fixed Date Application. The Police Service Commission cannot withdraw Mr Slowe’s right to have the legality of his suspension challenged,” Justice Persaud ruled.
Attorney General Anil Nandlall had filed an application for a stay of the proceedings pending the outcome of an appeal filed on the Chief Justice’s ruling that the Police Service Commission was not properly constituted.
The PSC Lawyer, Darshan Ramdhani, filed another application in July, seeking permission for the Commission to withdraw from the matter.
Justice Persaud in his ruling said the two applications stymied the hearing of the substantive matter filed by Mr. Slowe.
He noted that the PSC’s application came swiftly on the heels of the Full Court’s ruling which added back the Commission as a party in the matter.
“The Full Court upheld my earlier ruling, in which I held that the substantive action did not automatically come to an end when the term of the members of the Police Service Commission came to an end,” the Judge pointed out.
The Full Court, in agreeing with Justice Persaud, had also ruled that Mr Slowe had an interest in his own right, and was therefore an interested party to case.
The Judge said notwithstanding these rulings, including the ruling of the Chief Justice that the PSC was not constituted in accordance with the Constitution, the interlocutory applications were still filed.
“It is patently clear that the application cannot be sustained since the Police Service Commission is not properly constituted and cannot participate in these proceedings. The application to discontinue the Fixed Date Application is refused,” the Judge said.
Justice Persaud said having had previous rulings on the issue at hand, the Police Service Commission cannot approach the Court again to attempt to obtain the same relief in a different way or to terminate the substantive case.
Addressing the application filed by the Attorney General, the Judge said based on his knowledge, there is no stay of the Chief Justice’s ruling.
“In any event, there can be no stay of a declaratory order, and I am not prepared to stay the proceedings before me, pending the appeal of the Chief Justice’s ruling, which will leave the proceedings before me in limbo, since that appeal would take time to be heard and determine, and we have no indication how long that would take,” Justice Persaud said.
In dismissing the Attorney General’s application, Justice Persaud said it amounted to an abuse of the Court.
He said the appeal has no impact on Mr. Slowe’s right to have the lawfulness of his suspension adjudicated upon.
“This is also an access to justice issue for Mr Slowe. How long should he wait as a litigant, who is entitled to access to justice to have the legality of his suspension ruled upon while the respondents file interlocutory application upon interlocutory application delaying the substantive issue,” Justice Persaud said.
He said the substantive case remains alive and will be heard on January 16, 2023.