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CCJ tells why appeal dismissed

BARRY ALLEYNE, [email protected]

CCJ tells why appeal dismissed

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The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has provided the reasons for dismissing an appeal brought by a former inspector who was fired by the Ministry of Transport and Works 15 years ago.

The court had last month thrown out the case of James Ifill, who had appealed his firing for a breach of discipline in November 2003.

Ifill had maintained he was denied an oral hearing in breach of natural justice, that the sanction of “compulsory resignation” imposed on him as a penalty for the disciplinary breaches was unreasonable, and that it was not an available sanction to impose for his conduct.

In giving the reasons for their decision delivered on June 5, the CCJ noted Ifill had brought a claim for judicial review in the High Court on June 26, 2008, almost five years after his employment was terminated, claiming a declaration that the decision “to effectively dismiss” him from the Public Service was unreasonable, unlawful and an abuse of discretion.

He also claimed certiorari to quash the decision to dismiss him, a declaration he was entitled to be reinstated to the public service, and damages.

The decision to terminate Ifill’s employment followed from the findings of Carlos Belgrave, a senior public officer, who investigated the charges of breach of discipline.

In the substantive trial, Justice Dr Sonia Richards observed in her judgment that the applicant did not challenge the findings of the disciplinary tribunal.

Neither did he challenge the decision that the disciplinary action against him should take the form of compulsory resignation.

“Rather, the applicant took umbrage with the process by which his compulsory resignation was implemented,” the CCJ said.

The court said it was therefore quite a departure from the case that was tried and determined in the High Court for Ifill’s grounds of appeal before them, as before the Court of Appeal, to include a complaint that the decision of the Commission to recommend he be compelled to resign was taken in breach of the rules of natural justice.

The CCJ also advised that Ifill had been informed twice he had room to appeal to the local Privy Council.

“It was a factor of overarching significance that Ifill had every opportunity, which was twice held out to him, to have the case against him referred to the local Privy Council,” the CCJ wrote. (BA)