PM, national security council to pay half of Gary's costs

Political leader of the National Transformation Alliance Gary Griffith -
Political leader of the National Transformation Alliance Gary Griffith -

THE PRIME Minister and the National Security Council (NSC) have been ordered to pay 50 per cent of former police commissioner Gary Griffith’s legal costs for his partial success over plans to lay the executive summary of an audit into the police firearms registry in Parliament.

In a written ruling on who should pay for the partial success of the lawsuit filed by Griffith in October last year, Justice Devindra Rampersad said while the challenge to the propriety of the audit report failed, it was not unreasonable to have brought the claim.

In March, Rampersad ruled that the controversial report, or any part of it, cannot be laid in Parliament but should only be provided to the present commissioner and the Police Service Commission.

He also held that Dr Rowley and the members of his Cabinet, who form the NSC, had the power to appoint the committee to audit and investigate the grant of firearms by the police over the period 2016 to 2021.

In his ruling on costs, Rampersad said, “On the very important aspect that it ought not to be disclosed injudiciously, the claimant was successful.

“The other major issue as to the legitimacy of the audit and its propriety against the background of political motivation and bad faith was the other substantive limb of the claim and the claimant did not succeed on that.”

With regard to Rowley and the NSC members, Rampersad said because of the failure of the Prime Minister and his ministers to be “full and frank with the court, their restrained approach to the pre-action process and against the background of the public perceptions and utterances,” he was not prepared to award any costs to them on the unsuccessful aspects of Griffith’s claim.

Griffith had complained about the legality of the setting up of the committee by Dr Rowley and his NSC to investigate the police’s firearms department licensing regime, its operations, and the issuance of FULs.

The former top cop, who held the post from 2018-2021, said he was concerned that the contents of the report and the process used by the committee – comprising of retired police officers – were irretrievably tainted by bad faith and illegality because the Prime Minister had no power to appoint such a committee. He also cited statements Dr Rowley made after Griffith announced the launch of his political party and his decision to reapply to be top cop.

Griffith said he feared publication of the report, or any part of it, would expose him to public ridicule and if laid in Parliament, would protect Rowley and the media by qualified or absolute privilege from defamation claims for damages.

Representing Griffith were Avory Sinanan, SC, Larry Lalla, SC, and Ajay Babal while Russell Martineau, SC, Kerwyn Garcia, SC, Tenille Ramkissoon, Kendra Mark-Gordon, Nisa Simmons, and Chantell Le Gall represented the PM. The audit committee members were represented by Gilbert Peterson, SC, and Rishi Dass, SC.


"PM, national security council to pay half of Gary’s costs"

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