Chief Justice Satnarine Sharmas fate now lies in the
hands of five British Law Lords who are expected to rule on
whether the judiciarys chief can be arrested on the
criminal charge that hangs over his head.
Hearing of the appeal brought by Sharma ends today at the
London Privy Council with lawyers for the State responding
to arguments presented to the court yesterday by the Chief
Justices lead attorney, Andrew Mitchell, QC.
It is not certain if the Law Lords will give their decision
today. If not, their judgment in the matter is expected to
be delivered before the end of the month.
Sharma, who was at the Privy Council on Downing Street in
London, sat in the courtroom together with his wife, Kalawaty,
listening to the proceedings.
The Chief Justice, who has been suspended from office by President
George Maxwell Richards, has challenged the decision by the
Court of Appeal to set aside the leave granted to him to have
the decision to prosecute him reviewed by the courts.
In July, Court of Appeal judges Margot Warner, Ivor Archie
and Paula Mae Weekes paved the way for Sharma to be arrested
on a criminal charge alleging that he attempted to sway the
decision of Chief Magistrate Sherman Mc Nicolls in the case
against former prime minister Basdeo Panday.
Mitchell told the court that Sharma was only trying to stop
a politically-motivated criminal prosecution, which, he said,
had the potential of ruining the CJs career.
He told the five Law Lords not to lose sight of who is seeking
should not be treated lightly...We have an appellant seeking
to stop a criminal prosecution in its tracks which has the
potential to ruin his career, Mitchell said.
Mitchell submitted that the five injunctions granted to Sharma
by Justice Judith Jones be reinstated and the High Court be
allowed to review the decision to charge him.
Mitchell said there were political overtones in this decision
which was driven by Attorney General John Jeremie and Prime
Minister Patrick Manning.
Mitchell said Manning had predicted the CJs removal
even before a case had been made out by the police, referring
to Mannings statement to Sharma, telling him to resign
or face criminal prosecution.
Prime Minister predicted the removal of the Chief Justice
by July 31, Mitchell said.
Sharma has also alleged that the Chief Magistrates complaint
against him arose as a result of his (Mc Nicolls) wanting
to avoid investigation into a land transaction.
Mitchell said it was only when Mc Nicolls was confronted by
Sharma about the land deal did the Chief Magistrate write
to the Prime Minister alleging interference by Sharma in the
Mitchell said the Chief Magistrate, instead of going to the
Prime Minister with his complaint about Sharma, should have
referred the matter to the Judicial and Legal Services Commission
or the police.
He labeled Manning, Jeremie and Mc Nicolls as members of an
unholy trinity, all of whom he said wanted to
remove Sharma from office.
Mitchell also accused Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions
Carla Browne-Antoine of being politically influenced.
way the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions went about
her duties was politically influenced, he said.
He also questioned why did Commissioner of Police Trevor Paul,
in the face of several court orders, go on a Friday evening
to arrest Sharma at his home, at which time no justice of
the peace or magistrate would be available to grant bail.
He said the police should have gone by way of a summons and
should not have sought an arrest warrant for Sharma.
Mitchell said Sharma was right to seek the courts intervention
if he felt the decision to prosecute him was politically motivated.
Sir Godfrey Le Quesne, who leads the case for Browne-Antoine,
said there was nothing which gave rise to the suspicion of
political interference as is alleged by Sharma.
Sharma, who has been out of the publics view since the
attempt to arrest him on July 14, appeared to be in good spirits
He declined to speak to reporters as he left the Privy Council
on Downing Street, Central London, but is expected to return
today when lawyers for the State continue to present their
arguments before the British Law Lords.