Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj S.C.: “The law is supreme. Even if it’s a Chief Justice or a Prime Minister or a President”

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Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj S.C.: “The law is supreme. Even if it’s a Chief Justice or a Prime Minister or a President”

The law is supreme. So even if it’s a Chief Justice or a Prime Minister or a President and that person violates the law, you have to be very strong and right about it in your judgment. He was at the time referring to the October 12 ruling of Court of Appeal Justices of Appeal Allan Mendonca, Nolan Bereaux, and Alice Yorke Soo Hon judgment in the Marcia Ayers-Caesar v The JLSC case.

Maharaj said, “If the court is the guardian of the rights of the people, no one is above the law. The Law is supreme.  The controversial matter concerned High Court judge Marcia Ayers-Caesar who said she was pressured by the JLSC (Judicial and Legal Service Commission), which is chaired by Chief Justice (CJ) Ivor Archie, to resign, and was told to sign a pre-prepared resignation letter or her appointment would be revoked by the President. There is a twenty-one (21) day window for the JLSC  to appeal the matter to this country’s highest court, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Maharaj was the lead attorney for Ayers-Caesar. The Attorney General is said to be considering the options available.

Taking his time to painstakingly lay out the details of the case. Maharaj as lead Attorney said Ayers-Caesar was appointed a judge on April 12, 2017, but resigned 15 days later when it was noted that she had 53 unfinished cases in the magistrates court. He said she was appointed a High Court judge even though she had informed the JLSC she had, what she then believed were 28 unfinished cases. After her appointment, the JLSC felt it was deliberately misled and questioned her case management abilities.

Maharaj outlined that on April 27, 2017, between 2 pm and 5 pm, Ayers-Caesar attended a meeting with the Chief Justice that resulted in her signing a resignation letter and press release announcing her resignation that was prepared before the meeting at the office of the CJ. She was also told she had an appointment for the President to receive her resignation at 5.30 pm that afternoon and that he was expecting her.

The Court of Appeal Justices ruled the situation amounted to “illegal conduct by the commission because it was intended to threaten, coerce and pressure” Ayers-Caesar into resigning from office. They also ordered the resignation letter be expunged from the records of the President and that Ayers-Caesar should be compensated for the breach of her rights. Maharaj noted the JLSC had 21 days from the day of the October 12 judgment to indicate whether it would appeal the decision.

The Court of Appeal Justices also declared in their ruling, that Ayers-Caesar continued to hold the office of puisne Judge of the Supreme Court of Judicature of TT “because her purported letter of resignation was procured by the illegal conduct of the commission.”