A decision will be given today regarding an injunction against the Prime Minister, which seeks to prevent him from publishing the contents of a controversial firearm user’s licence (FUL) audit report in Parliament.
Justices of Appeal Nolan Bereaux, Peter Rajkumar and Maria Wilson agreed to hear Dr Keith Rowley’s appeal as an urgent matter on Tuesday and at the end of a full day of submissions, they said they will give their decision on Wednesday.
Bereaux said the oral decision will be delivered at 10 am as they needed more time to think and consider the issues raised in the prime minister’s appeal.
The injunction was granted on December 13 by High Court judge Devindra Rampersad, in favour of former commissioner of police Gary Griffith after the State failed to give an undertaking that the audit report would not be laid in Parliament.
Griffith said he was concerned that the contents of the report and the process used by the National Security committee – comprising retired police officers – were irretrievably tainted by bad faith and illegality, because the Prime Minister had no power to appoint such a committee, and because of statements Dr Rowley made after Griffith announced the launch of his party and his decision to reapply to be top cop.
On Tuesday, lead attorney for the Prime Minister, Russell Martineau, SC, said Rampersad was wrong to not consider the assurance given by the AG’s office that the report will not be published until those who are adversely affected are given an opportunity to make representations, including Griffith. He said the injunction prevents anyone adversely affected from getting that opportunity since it was too wide.
Martineau added: “The word of the appellant must mean something. There was no reason to come to court. We had hoped the judge would have said, ‘I am not granting the injunction.’”
In granting the injunction, Rampersad pointed out that despite the assurances of the State that the contents of the report will not be published in Parliament, none was given in court. The judge also held there was a serious issue raised in Griffith’s claim to be tried.
He said the audit was requisitioned by the Cabinet as it was the fundamental responsibility of the Government to ensure the nation’s security and the safety of citizens.