Justice Satnarine Sharma leaves the Port-of-Spain Magistrates
Court yesterday, after his main accuser Chief Magistrate
Sherman Mc Nicolls failed to show up to testify. Photo:
PRIME Minister Patrick Manning has bowled another sharp
rising bouncer at Chief Justice Satnarine Sharma by resuming
impeachment proceedings against the already-suspended head
of the judiciary.
Manning has written to Sharma informing him of a decision
to resume the process he began last year, under Section
137 of the Constitutiona move sparked by complaints
by Chief Magistrate Sherman Mc Nicolls that Sharma tried
to unduly influence the outcome of the integrity trial against
former prime minister Basdeo Panday.
Sharma has already been charged with perverting the course
of public justice as it relates to Mc Nicolls complaints
and is before the courts on a criminal prosecution. (SEE
But, the Prime Minister last week resumed play and has given
Sharma 14 days to respond to Mc Nicolls allegations
in the newest move to impeach.
The legal quagmire involving attempts to remove Sharma from
office began in 2004, when Manning advised President President
George Maxwell Richards to set up a tribunal to investigate
whether the CJ should be removed from office.
This arose out of similar complaints against Sharma by Attorney
General John Jeremie and DPP Geoffrey Henderson of interference
in the preliminary inquiry into the murder of Dr Chandra
In a letter to Sharma, obtained by the Guardiandated
February 21Manning informed the CJ that, after receiving
legal advice, he was now considering whether the Chief
Magistrates complaint has a prima facie sufficient
basis in fact and is sufficiently serious to warrant the
making of representation to his Excellency the President
that the question of removing you from office ought to be
Section 137 (3) outlines the procedure for setting up a
tribunal to investigate the removal of the Chief Justice,
once the Prime Minister advises the President to do so.
Contacted yesterday, Sharma said he had nothing to say.
But sources in his legal camp said the latest move by the
executive was an oppressive one, intent at destroying
the CJs reputation.
Sharma was suspended from office by President George Maxwell
Satnarine Sharma, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
of Judicature of T&T, of 12 St Andrews Terrace, Private
Road, Fairways, Maraval, between Tuesday, February 28, 2006,
and Wednesday, March 29, 2006, with intent to pervert the
course of public justice by the improper influencing of
the Chief Magistrate, Mr Sherman Mc Nicolls, with respect
to his decision in the trial of Basdeo Panday on charges
of knowingly making false declarations contrary to section
27 (1) (b) of the Integrity in Public Life Act, 1987 then
being heard by the said Chief Magistrate, did a series of
acts which had a tendency to pervert the course of public
justice, namely he, the said Satnarine Sharma, did attempt
to influence the said Chief Magistrate to make a decision
in favour of the defendant in the said trial in that he,
the said Satnarine Sharma, did commend the defence case
to the said Chief Magistrate; told the said Chief Magistrate
of points in favour of the defence which he must note in
his judgment; direct the said Chief Magistrate to find the
evidence of a defence witness to be truthful; and direct
the said Chief Magistrate to show him a draft of the said
Chief Magistrates judgment before he delivered it.
(Mc Nicolls convicted Panday on all three counts of failing
to declare a London bank account to the Integrity Commission
for the years 1997, 98 and 99.
The politician was sentenced to two years jail time
and ordered to repay more than $1.8 million to the State.
He was jailed after being denied bail, but was eventually
released and is awaiting a decision in his appeal.)
April 1, 2005Prime Minister Patrick Manning announces
in Parliament of a decision to advise President Richards
to set up a tribunal to investigate whether CJ Satnarine
Sharma should be removed from office.
April 13, 2005Sharma fired a full-scale legal attack
to block the Governments investigation of his actions
in office on allegations that he attempted to induce DPP
Geoffrey Henderson and AG John Jeremie to drop a murder
charge against Dr Vijay Naraynsingh. The latter was subsequently
cleared of the charges.
April 16, 2005President Richards announces decision
to hold his hand on appointing a three-member tribunal
to investigate Sharmas actions in office.
October 25, 2005 Matter entered mediation stage,
before the judicial review application filed by Sharma
went to trial.
January, 2006 Mediation talks break down.
May 5, 2006Chief Magistrate Sherman Mc Nicolls complains
that Sharma tried to influence his decision in the Basdeo
May 8, 2006Sharma writes to Judicial and Legal Services
Commission complaining that Mc Nicolls used his position
to have the land deal settled in his favour and that he
maliciously lied to Prime Minister Patrick Manning after
he was confronted on the transaction by Sharma.
May 10, 2006Sharma alleges Manning issued him an
ultimatum: resign or be charged.
May 11, 2006 Sharma files judicial review proceedings
blocking any further proceedings against him under Section
May 11, 2006The police begin investigations into
Mc Nicolls allegations. ACP Wellington Virgil is
appointed to head the probe. Police search Sharma office
June, 2006JLSC appoints Justice Humphrey Stollmeyer
to investigate Sharmas allegations against Mc Nicolls.
Mc Nicolls was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing by
the Judicial and Legal Service Commission.
July 10, 2006Sharma fires pre-emptive strike, temporarily
blocking criminal charges from being laid against him
arising out of Mc Nicolls complaint.
July 14, 2006Police unsuccessfully attempt to arrest
Sharma at his Fairways, Maraval, home. Criminal charges
are laid against him.
July 28, 2006Sharma is suspended and Justice Roger
Hamel Smith has been appointed to act as CJ until the
determination of all legal proceedings involving the complaint
by Mc Nicolls.
July 31, 2006Court of Appeal rules in States
favour and paves the way for Sharmas arrest by lifting
a series of injunctions granted by a High Court judge.
He appeals to the London Privy Council.
November 30, 2006 London Privy Council rules against
Sharma and he gives himself up to the police.
February 26, 2007Criminal prosecution against Sharma
begins before Senior Magistrate Lianne Lee Kim.