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Tuesday 18 September 2018
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CJ’S FRIEND FLEES

Chief Justice Ivor Archie.

YVONNE WEBB

Dillian Johnson, who is at the centre of a swirling controversy involving beleaguered Chief Justice Ivor Archie, has fled to far off England where he is reportedly seeking political asylum amid fears for his life.

Confirmation of this has come from attorney Dexter Bailey yesterday following a message circulating on WhatsApp that Johnson, who was shot in December, was seeking refuge from the British because of threats on his life. The message also indicated he was granted temporary asylum and placed in a council flat, although this could not be independently confirmed by Newsday.

Johnson, 36, referred Bailey to Newsday as one of two lawyers representing him and who is authorised to speak to the media on his behalf.

The other was identified as Thalia Francis. Johnson, in a social media communication with Newsday, said he is reluctant to communicate with journalists as he insists his phones are being tapped by Special Branch police.

In a telephone interview, however, attorney Bailey denied being retained by Johnson to represent him in this matter. “I am familiar with Mr Johnson.

“He is somebody I know. I have had discussions with Mr Johnson, but I have not been formally retained by Mr Johnson. At this stage his official attorney is Miss Francis,” Bailey said. Calls to Francis’ phone were not answered yesterday.

Bailey said he communicated with Johnson, at the request of another reporter who was also seeking confirmation about Johnson’s whereabouts and was given permission to confirm his location.

“I can confirm that he (Johnson) is out of the jurisdiction, but I do not do that as his official attorney,” Bailey said.

Asked if Johnson was seeking political asylum, Bailey replied, “based on my discussions with him, he has indicated such. He has indicated such.”

Johnson shot into the limelight last year after he revealed to the media that CJ Archie had attempted to influence Supreme Court judges to change their State-provided security in favour of a private security company with which he (Johnson) was employed.

In December, Johnson was shot in the hand by a gunman. Johnson was seated in the porch of his Springvale, Gasparillo home when at 10.30 pm, he was shot.

He was treated at the San Fernando General Hospital and later discharged.

In media interviews, Johnson later confirmed he was on suspension from his Project Superintendent post at the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA), pending investigations into allegations that he caused junior employees to carry out private work outside of the confines of the authority’s remit and for which the authority was billed.

Johnson was also sentenced to perform 200 hours of community service in 2008, after pleading guilty to uttering forged documents bearing the names of Magistrates Maureen Baboolal-Gafoor and David Harris.

The documents were letters of reference addressed to the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) where Johnson was seeking employment. Johnson was one of 12 people who a high-ranking official in the Judiciary assisted in obtaining HDC houses, by fast tracking their applications.

Sources within the Judiciary yesterday claimed that CJ Archie met in the afternoon with three attorneys at the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain but when Newsday visited the Hall, guards claimed that the CJ was not present and had left earlier.

An official from the British High Commission yesterday said it is against established policy to reveal whether a person has applied for and was granted asylum in the United Kingdom. Johnson has claimed that local police are not treating seriously his report of an attempted hit on his life.

According to the UK’s asylum law, one must apply for asylum to stay in the UK as a refugee. To be eligible, person must have left their home country and be unable to go back because of fear of persecution.

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