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Governor loses again in Court

Sergeant Julian Wade of the Royal Montserrat Police Service, RMPS won his appeal against His Excellency the Governor, coming out of a lawsuit in 2010.

The appellant Wade claimed that the then Governor Peter Waterworth wrongly withdrew his approval to him as Inspector of Police.  In addition he had also claimed that the Governor breached the Rules of Natural Justice when he failed to afford the Claimant an opportunity to be heard before deciding to withdraw his approval.  It follows when the court asked the respondent’s attorney from the Attorney General’s Chambers at the appeal hearing, whether he thought justice and fairness were served on the part of the actions of the Governor and the Commissioner of Police.

As part of the selection process the Commissioner wrote a glowing report and Wade was favored for the position. The Governor approved Wade and communicated his approval of Wade by way of letter to the Commissioner. Since approving Mr. Wade as a suitable candidate the Governor was given information about an incident involving Wade that took place a year for which during the approval process investigations were ongoing. Police Commissioner Steve Foster then reprimanded Wade.   The appointment was never completed and the disappointed Officer sought relief in the High Court.

In the High Court lawyer David S. Brandt on behalf of Wade argued that the it was unfair for the one-year old incident to be used against Wade because he was never given an opportunity to answer the allegations since disciplinary proceedings were never brought against him.   Mr. Brandt highlighted section 34 of the Police Act which which was argued by both sides. It provides that:

  1. (1) When a charge or complaint is made against any subordinate police officer or constable for breach of any disciplinary regulations made under this Act, any Gazetted Police Officer, or any Magistrate on the written request of the Superintendent, may hear and determine the charge or complaint and save in the cases otherwise provided for under subsection (2) may impose any one of the following sentences, coupled, in the case of the Superintendent (if he thinks fit) with dismissal from the Force and, in the case of a Gazetted Police Officer other than the Superintendent (if he thinks fit) or, in the case of a Magistrate (if he thinks fit) with a recommendation for dismissal from the Force, that is to say—

(a) caution or reprimand;

(b) suspension, deferment or stoppage of increment;

(c) fine not exceeding $25;

(d) reduction in rank;

(e) forfeiture of good conduct pay or badges, or of any benefit arising from service;

(f) in the case of constables only confinement to barracks for any period not exceeding 28 days, and such confinement shall involve the performance of ordinary duty and parades as well as fatigue duties.

Based on that section, Brandt argued that the Commissioner had no authority to reprimand as his client was not charged.

Fitzroy Buffonge on the other hand who represented the crown maintained that there was no need for disciplinary hearing.

After hearing both sides, High Court Judge Albert Redhead in the court below had ruled that while the Governor signed the approval for Sergeant Wade to be elevated to rank of inspector of Police, he never received or signed an acceptance form and could not have been said to have been appointed or promoted. Justice Redhead also had ruled that there was no breach of the rules of Natural Justice with regard to the withdrawing of the offer of appointment to the Mr. Wade.

TMR obtained a copy of the arguments filed in the Court of Appeal and they revealed that Mr. Wade based his appeal on several grounds but his lawyer Mr. Brandt mainly argued the third ground which was that, “The learned Trial Judge erred in law when he found that after the Governor approved the appointment of the Appellant as Inspector of Police, based on something said to him by the Commissioner of police without according the Appellant an opportunity to be given adequate notice to  him to be heard and in fact of hearing him that the rules of natural  justice was not breached.”

Buffonge for the Crown maintained that Wade was not entitled to relief and went a step further to argue that “If the disciplinary procedure under section 34 was not invoked, it is unclear why the Appellant seeks the court’s intervention procedurally.”

On appeal to the Eastern Caribbean Court of the appeal the court of Appeal ruled by way of declaration, declaring that the Governor did breach the rules of Natural Justice when he failed to offer Sergeant Wade an opportunity to be heard before deciding to rescind his appoint him as inspector of police.

Mr. Wade was also granted costs of a total of $10,000.00 to cover legal expenses in the Court of Appeal and the court below.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Sergeant Julian Wade of the Royal Montserrat Police Service, RMPS won his appeal against His Excellency the Governor, coming out of a lawsuit in 2010.

The appellant Wade claimed that the then Governor Peter Waterworth wrongly withdrew his approval to him as Inspector of Police.  In addition he had also claimed that the Governor breached the Rules of Natural Justice when he failed to afford the Claimant an opportunity to be heard before deciding to withdraw his approval.  It follows when the court asked the respondent’s attorney from the Attorney General’s Chambers at the appeal hearing, whether he thought justice and fairness were served on the part of the actions of the Governor and the Commissioner of Police.

As part of the selection process the Commissioner wrote a glowing report and Wade was favored for the position. The Governor approved Wade and communicated his approval of Wade by way of letter to the Commissioner. Since approving Mr. Wade as a suitable candidate the Governor was given information about an incident involving Wade that took place a year for which during the approval process investigations were ongoing. Police Commissioner Steve Foster then reprimanded Wade.   The appointment was never completed and the disappointed Officer sought relief in the High Court.

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In the High Court lawyer David S. Brandt on behalf of Wade argued that the it was unfair for the one-year old incident to be used against Wade because he was never given an opportunity to answer the allegations since disciplinary proceedings were never brought against him.   Mr. Brandt highlighted section 34 of the Police Act which which was argued by both sides. It provides that:

  1. (1) When a charge or complaint is made against any subordinate police officer or constable for breach of any disciplinary regulations made under this Act, any Gazetted Police Officer, or any Magistrate on the written request of the Superintendent, may hear and determine the charge or complaint and save in the cases otherwise provided for under subsection (2) may impose any one of the following sentences, coupled, in the case of the Superintendent (if he thinks fit) with dismissal from the Force and, in the case of a Gazetted Police Officer other than the Superintendent (if he thinks fit) or, in the case of a Magistrate (if he thinks fit) with a recommendation for dismissal from the Force, that is to say—

(a) caution or reprimand;

(b) suspension, deferment or stoppage of increment;

(c) fine not exceeding $25;

(d) reduction in rank;

(e) forfeiture of good conduct pay or badges, or of any benefit arising from service;

(f) in the case of constables only confinement to barracks for any period not exceeding 28 days, and such confinement shall involve the performance of ordinary duty and parades as well as fatigue duties.

Based on that section, Brandt argued that the Commissioner had no authority to reprimand as his client was not charged.

Fitzroy Buffonge on the other hand who represented the crown maintained that there was no need for disciplinary hearing.

After hearing both sides, High Court Judge Albert Redhead in the court below had ruled that while the Governor signed the approval for Sergeant Wade to be elevated to rank of inspector of Police, he never received or signed an acceptance form and could not have been said to have been appointed or promoted. Justice Redhead also had ruled that there was no breach of the rules of Natural Justice with regard to the withdrawing of the offer of appointment to the Mr. Wade.

TMR obtained a copy of the arguments filed in the Court of Appeal and they revealed that Mr. Wade based his appeal on several grounds but his lawyer Mr. Brandt mainly argued the third ground which was that, “The learned Trial Judge erred in law when he found that after the Governor approved the appointment of the Appellant as Inspector of Police, based on something said to him by the Commissioner of police without according the Appellant an opportunity to be given adequate notice to  him to be heard and in fact of hearing him that the rules of natural  justice was not breached.”

Buffonge for the Crown maintained that Wade was not entitled to relief and went a step further to argue that “If the disciplinary procedure under section 34 was not invoked, it is unclear why the Appellant seeks the court’s intervention procedurally.”

On appeal to the Eastern Caribbean Court of the appeal the court of Appeal ruled by way of declaration, declaring that the Governor did breach the rules of Natural Justice when he failed to offer Sergeant Wade an opportunity to be heard before deciding to rescind his appoint him as inspector of police.

Mr. Wade was also granted costs of a total of $10,000.00 to cover legal expenses in the Court of Appeal and the court below.