Judge grants Griffith injunction against PM over firearms audit report

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo of Gary Griffith.

A High Court judge has granted an injunction to former police commissioner Gary Griffith restraining the Prime Minister from laying any part of a controversial Firearm user’s licence (FUL) audit report in Parliament.

In a ruling on Tuesday, Justice Devindra Rampersad said, “The force of the vehemence born out of this report, and expressed in public as alleged by the claimant, suggests that its premature presentation or production would have far-reaching effects in the public domain.”

The ruling also says, “The court grants an injunction restraining the seventh respondent from laying an executive summary or any part of the said audit report before the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago or otherwise publishing any portion of the contents of same”

Dr Rowley, in his capacity as Prime Minister, is listed as the seventh respondent in Griffith’s lawsuit, which also includes the members of the National Security Council (NSC) and an audit committee made up of retired police officers.

Griffth had asked Rampersad to restrain Dr Rowley and his NSC from taking the report to Parliament as he challenges the legality of the setting-up of the committee to perform the audit and its investigation.

Griffith is also asking for the quashing of the report or any part of it that concerns him.

Griffith, who served as police commissioner from 2018-August 2021, said from his experience as a former national security minister he knows neither the Prime Minister nor the National Security Council had the authority to appoint anyone to investigate the operations of the police service, so he was concerned about the legality of the appointment of the audit committee.

In his lawsuit, the former top cop wants the court to grant declarations that the decision to commission the report infringed his rights and was illegal, unlawful, and irrational, since they did not have the power to appoint the committee.

He also says he is concerned that the contents of the report and the process used by the committee were irretrievably tainted by bad faith and illegality because the Prime Minister has no power to appoint such a committee, and because of statements Dr Rowley made after Griffith announced the launch of his political party and his decision to reapply to be top cop.

Griffith also feared publication of the report or any part of it would expose him to public ridicule and. if laid in Parliament, would protect Rowley and the media by qualified or absolute privilege from defamation claims for damages.