PSC saga: AG moves to Full Court to appeal judge’s ruling

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Hours after High Court Judge Gino Persaud handed down his ruling, throwing out an application to dismiss a constitutional action brought by the now expired Police Service Commission, Attorney General Anil Nandlall, SC, has moved to the Full Court in an appeal of the decision.

Nandlall holds that Justice Persaud erred when he ruled that the case can proceed.

Nandlall argues that Justice Persaud misinterpreted, misconstrued, and misapplied the important doctrine of “public interest litigation” in such a manner that his decision has resulted in a grave miscarriage of justice.

Nandlall also contends that the judge erred and misdirected himself in law by ruling that Slowe be substituted in place of the PSC, a constitutional body, for the purpose of continuing judicial review proceedings.

Among other things, Nandlall argues too that the judge’s decision to “potentially permit” Slowe, “a citizen, to usurp, interfere with, compromise, undermine, and assume” the functions of the PSC is unconstitutional.

He is also of the view that the judge’s decision violates the doctrine of separation of powers and Article 226 of the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, Chapter 1:01 of the Laws of Guyana.

Nandlall had contended that the action, which was filed in July 2021, could not proceed to finality because the PSC expired one month later in August 2021.

In the brief oral ruling, which offered a summary of reasons for the decision, Persaud said it was not logical or fair to throw out the substantive case because the life of Commission had ended.

Persaud observed that both the AG and Counsel representing the PSC were unable to find previous similar cases, making it a novel point that had not been ruled on before although he relied on regional cases to come to his decision.

In dismissing the application, Justice Persaud ordered no costs since the matter is in the public interest but said that Slowe must now be substituted for the PSC as the applicant since no Commission is in place.

He said the Attorney for the PSC erred when the case was filed since they were well aware that at the time the members were all suspended and the life of the PSC would soon expire.

The PSC had instituted proceedings in the High Court against President Ali, Prime Minister Brigadier (retired) Mark Phillips, Police Commissioner (ag) Nigel Hoppie and the Attorney General.

The PSC wanted a declaration that the suspension of the Chairman and members of the PSC by President Ali was contrary to and in violation of the Constitution of Guyana, in particular articles 225 (6) and 210 (3). The PSC was suspended by President Ali on June 16, 2021.

The fixed date application, also against the Secretary of the PSC, was filed by attorneys Selwyn Pieters, Dexter Todd and Dexter Smartt on behalf of the PSC.

Earlier, Nandlall challenged the naming of President Ali as a respondent since the constitution shields the President from prosecution through Presidential immunity articulated under Article 182 (1) of the Constitution.

In September, Justice Persaud upheld this constitutional shield and ordered that Dr. Ali’s name be removed from constitutional action.

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