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Saturday 21 October 2017
News

Judge to Rule on Urgency

HIGH COURT judge, Justice Joan Charles has given the State until 1 pm tomorrow to say how soon a board for the Protective Service Compensation Committee (PSCC) is to be appointed.

Justice Charles gave the instructions to the attorney representing the Attorney General at a hearing at the Port of Spain High Court to determine the urgency of an application by a former police Corporal for breach of his rights to compensation from the board for injuries sustained while on the job.

At today’s hearing, Justice Charles will rule on whether the application of former Cpl Fazal Khan is urgent enough to be heard during the court’s vacation period.

In giving her instructions to attorney Michael Bullock, who appears for the AG, Justice Charles said merely saying that a board cannot be now appointed because of serious legal issues was not sufficient as there was a board to be appointed.

“The Cabinet did take a decision to appoint members. The court needs to find out why it was not appointed,” he said.

He added that Acting Attorney General Stuart Young has acknowledged the urgency in appointing a new board and he said he will ascertain as to how soon this will be done.

Ghany filed a constitutional motion seeking relief from the court after the failure of the PSCC to consider the quantum of compensation to be awarded to him in compliance with a ruling of the Privy Council in March 2015, which corrected a flaw in the legislation which governed how officers in the protective services are compensated for personal injury suffered in the course of employment.

In its ruling, the Privy Council held that the Protective Services (Compensation) Act was flawed as it failed to provide a formula for the calculation of compensation to be awarded to officers who suffer personal injury other than those specified in the Workmen’s Compensation Act.

Ghany was denied compensation after he became paralysed resulting from a work-related accident in 2006 and his claim was remitted to the Compensation Committee for their reconsideration.

However, the previous board ceased to function effective June 2015.

In his submissions, Bullock said Ghany’s application failed to show why his application should be deemed urgent to be heard during the court’s vacation period as it did not comply with the requirements of the Civil Proceedings Rules for such hearings.

He also said in constitutional claims, the rules dictate that the State be given sufficient time to enter its defence but that Ghany’s action was filed before the expiration of the pre-action protocol letter sent by his attorneys and no notice was given when the application for the emergency hearing was filed on Wednesday. “It is not fit for a vacation (court) hearing. He has to show his position is irrevocably affected,” Bullock argued.

“If he was interested in having the matter dealt with justly, the State would have been given more than seven days and an explanation on why it (the claim) was filed before the expiration (of the pre-action letter),” he said.

Bullock also submitted that the court need to hear the State’s explanation for the delay in the appointment of the board.

Ghany, a former member of the Anti-Kidnapping Squad, sustained a fractured spinal disc after he slipped down a flight of stairs at the unit’s office in Couva. As a result of the accident, Ghany suffered 26 percent paralysis of his body, forcing him to retire from the Police Service medically unfit.

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