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Tuesday 16 January 2018
Crime and Court

Aftermath of Ayers-Caesar’s unfinished cases: Man accuses magistrate of hostility

Former chief magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar.

Murder accused Akilli Charles has accused acting Chief Magistrate Maria Busby Earle-Caddle of being “extremely hostile” towards him.

He has also accused police s at the Port of Spain Magistrates’ Court of assaulting him for his lawsuit, which challenges Earle-Caddle’s decision to restart his case. Charles said in court documents he felt he was being targeted and pressured by the magistrate for “daring” to file his lawsuit.

He also said he was cuffed in the eye after his preliminary inquiry was adjourned on January 9 for “suing the boss lady.” Charles said he was told by the policeman who assaulted him to withdraw his civil lawsuit.

“I am extremely concerned about the prejudicial and malicious comments uttered by the police officer who attacked me because I dared to file a claim to vindicate my legal rights,” he said.

Charles’ lawsuit came up for hearing before Justice Carol Gobin in the Port of Spain High Court, where the issue was raised.

His attorney, Anand Ramlogan, SC, complained that his legal team has, since October, written to Earle-Caddle for transcripts of their client’s court appearances after the decision to restart the preliminary inquiry.

The attorney representing Earle-Caddle, Kerwyn Garcia, said all efforts will be made to disclose the information sought by Charles. Garcia said they would seek to release the transcripts of proceedings, notes of evidence, endorsements and audio court recordings by January 22. He explained that the request had not reached the desk of the chief magistrate.

“There was a breakdown... It never came to her,” he said.

Directions were given for the filing of submissions in Charles’ claim and the case will again be called on March 12, when the issue of cross-examining Earle-Caddle will be determined.

Charles was one of five prisoners who rioted at the Port of Spain Magistrates’ Court in April last year after learning that former chief magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar had been appointed a High Court judge. He was before Ayers-Caesar on a murder charge and his seven-year-long preliminary inquiry was nearing its end when she was appointed a judge. His case was one of 53 left unfinished by Ayers-Caesar.

On June 1, Earle-Caddle ordered that the preliminary inquiry for the murder charge against him should be restarted.

Charles filed a judicial review application and, in December, Justice Devindra Rampersad granted leave to advance his complaint, which includes his contention that his constitutional rights to the protection of the law and a fair hearing by an independent tribunal were infringed.

He will also seek to have the decision to restart his case thrown out. His action was transferred to Gobin, who is presiding over an interpretation summons filed by the Attorney General which seeks to have the court pronounce on the way forward for Ayers-Caesar’s unfinished cases.

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