After 62 statements were tendered into evidence over a five-year period, the decision to restart a murder preliminary inquiry (PI) after the resignation of former chief magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar, is being is being challenged in the High Court.
Yesterday, murder accused Akili Charles filed a lawsuit seeking judicial review of acting Chief Magistrate’s Maria Busby Earle-Caddle’s decision on June 1, to restart his matter. He is contending that it is a violation of the principles of natural justice. The lawsuit names Chief Justice Ivor Archie as the second defendant, the Attorney General as the third defendant and Director of Prosecution Roger Gaspard SC as an interested party. Charles and five others were charged with murder seven years ago.
The PI started on January 16, 2012.
In the lawsuit filed by Senior Counsel Anand Ramlogan, Charles said the hearings stopped on April 3 but no decision was given.
On April 12 Ayers-Caesar was sworn in as High Court judge, but when Charles’ case came up for hearing along with a several others in the Port of Spain Magistrates Court, the accused in those cases protested loudly.
There was almost near rioting in the cells when they were told their respective PIs will have to be restarted before another magistrate. On April 27, after Archie’s request of Ayers-Caesar to furnish a list of her part-heard cases, she resigned from the bench.
The judiciary also issued a press release on that same day saying Ayers-Caesar would return to the magistrates court to complete her part-heard cases.
On May 9, however, the Judicial and Legal Service Commission issued its own press release in which it said Ayers-Caesar will not be presiding on the magisterial bench. She subsequently tendered her resignation to President Anthony Carmona, however that has become an issue which is the subject of judicial review proceedings in the Court of Appeal.
Ramlogan, instructed by attorney Alvin Pariagsingh, is contending on Charles’ behalf that he is being treated unfairly by what he described as a blanket policy that all cases which were part-heard before Ayers-Caesar, must now be re-started before Earle-Caddle.