Even if acting Chief Magistrate Maria Busby Earle-Caddle had been instructed, after a judiciary stakeholders’ meeting, on how the magistracy should proceed with some 51 part-heard cases adjudicated upon by Marcia Ayers-Caesar, the fact remains that she made the correct decision to order the cases to be restarted.
This is the contention of the State on behalf of Earle-Caddle, who is the first respondent in murder accused Akili Charles’ judicial review lawsuit, in which he was granted leave in the High Court to contest her decision in April to restart his preliminary inquiry (PI).
Former chief magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar had started the case, in which 62 statements were tendered into evidence over a five-year period.
Legal submissions were filed on Monday in the High Court on behalf of Earle-Caddle by the Chief Solicitor’s Office.
Charles’ PI was started in June 2012 by Ayers-Caesar, but in April this year she was appointed a judge. When Charles’ PI was aborted, as well as those of several murder accused in which Ayers-Caesar had already partially adjudicated, Earle-Caddle ordered in the Port of Spain Magistrates’ Court that the PI be reheard.
Issues regarding Ayers-Caesar’s part-heard cases had come to the fore and she resigned as a judge but later claimed she was forced to do so by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC) led by Chief Justice Ivor Archie.
On May 9, the JLSC issued its own press release, saying Ayers-Caesar would not preside on the magisterial bench to complete her part-heard cases, which paved the way for Earle-Caddle to act as chief magistrate. It resulted in her telling several murder accused, including Charles, that their part-heard cases would be restarted.
Attorney Anand Ramlogan, SC, instructed by Jayanti Lutchmedial, had submitted to Justice Devindra Rampersad that there was a blanket policy, after a stakeholders’ meeting, that Earle-Caddle should act on by ordering the restart of the cases.
Attorney Kerwyn Garcia is representing the Attorney General for Earle-Caddle.