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Opposition Leader appeals Chief Justice’s ruling that PSC was not properly constituted

L-R: Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton and acting Chief Justice’s Roxane George, SC

Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton has moved to the Court of Appeal challenging the acting Chief Justice’s Roxane George, SC, ruling that the Police Service Commission (PSC) was not properly consulted because there was no Chairman of the Public Service Commission.

On August 23, 2022, Justice George ruled that President Irfaan Ali’s appointment of the PSC Chairman Patrick Findlay and members of the Integrity Commission (IC) was made constitutionally.

The CJ’s ruling came on the heels of a legal challenge filed by Norton, who was seeking to quash the President’s appointments on the basis that he was not meaningfully consulted as required under 210 (1) and 232 of the Constitution.

Justice George held that Norton was afforded a “reasonable opportunity” to express a considered opinion on the appointments. But she found that the PSC was not properly constituted.

In light of this, Justice George applied the de facto doctrine to save all actions taken by the PSC, including the recent promotion of several senior Police officers.

Dissatisfied with the Chief Justice’s ruling, Norton, through his Lawyers, Roysdale Forde, SC, and Selwyn Pieters, is asking for it to be set aside or reversed.

The Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, Chairman of the PSC Patrick Findlay, and the PSC members have been listed as respondents.

“The Learned Chief Justice (ag.) has misinterpreted, misconstrued, and misapplied the important Constitutional value and objective of Meaningful Consultation in such a manner that the decision of the Learned Chief Justice (ag.) has resulted in a grave miscarriage of justice,” Norton argued.

In fact, he contended that Justice George’s decision violates the doctrine of separation of powers and is not supported by established legal principles and doctrines.

“The Learned Chief Justice (ag.) gave weight to irrelevant factors and erred in law when she found that reasons were, in fact given in this case for the appointment of the Chairman of the Police Service Commission and Chairman and members of the Integrity Commission,” he further argued.

Moreover, Norton, who is also the Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) — the largest party in the APNU/AFC camp, is of the view that the CJ erred in law and made overriding errors of fact in finding that the de facto doctrine protected the decisions taken by the PSC.

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