Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton has asked the Court of Appeal to overturn the High Court’s decision that the appointment of the Chairman and Members of the Police Service Commission and the Integrity Commission were in accordance with the Constitution.
In his appeal filed on Monday, September 5, the Opposition Leader said with the exception of Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George’s findings that the Police Service Commission (PSC) was not properly constituted, he is dissatisfied with the ruling.
Through his lawyers, Mr Norton told the Appellate Court that the Chief Justice misinterpreted, misconstrued and misapplied the Constitutional value and objective of ‘meaningful consultation’ resulting in a grave miscarriage of justice.
On August 23, 2022, the Chief Justice (ag) ruled that the consultative process involving President Irfaan Ali and the Leader of the Opposition, Aubrey Norton, which led to the appointment of the Police Service Commission and the Integrity Commission was in accordance with the Constitution.
The Opposition Leader had challenged the appointment of Patrick Findlay as Chairman of the PSC, as well as the members of the Integrity Commission on the basis that the President did not “meaningfully consult” with him as required by the Constitution – a position he iterated in his appeal.
“The Learned Chief Justice (ag), erred in law when she held that Minister Teixeira’s May 12, 2022 Letter describing the prospective appointees as ‘people of good standing in our society’ and that the applicant may have been familiar with their names amounted to the provision of reason,” the attorney argued.
The Opposition Leader submitted that the decision of the Chief Justice (ag) has violated the doctrine of separation of powers, and is therefore unlawful and unconstitutional.
In her ruling, Chief Justice George concluded that the consultative process as contemplated by the Constitution was complied with. She said the Opposition Leader’s contention that he was not provided sufficient information on the nominees was without merit.
In the case of the Chairman of the Police Service Commission, the Chief Justice pointed out that he was among four persons nominated by the Appointments Committee of the National Assembly.
The Chief Justice ruled too that the Opposition Leader could have offered his contributions to the consultative process, even in the absence of an in-person meeting, and had sufficient information to object to Mr Findlay being appointed Chairman of the Commission but failed to do so.