Chief Justice Satnarine Sharma arrives at Port-of-Spain
Magistrates Court yesterday.
Photo: Wendy-Ann Duncan
Its up to DPP
ATTORNEY GENERAL John Jeremie says the States dropping
of the case against embattled Chief Justice Satnarine Sharma
is a clear indication that the time has come when one set
of proceedings will soon take precedence over another.
Jeremie was speaking to the media yesterday before the start
of the partys general council meeting at Balisier
House in Port-of-Spain, when he said:
do knowand which is public knowledgeis that
there are impeachment proceedings in contemplation.
Jeremie said Prime Minister Patrick Manning had written
to the CJ in exercise of his powers under Section 137 of
CJ has to reply to the Prime Minister in relation to Section
137 soon, and the time would have come, when perhaps, one
set of proceedings would have had to take precedence over
might have played into the matrix as to whether or not to
go forward with these proceedings, the fact that there are
other proceedings afoot.
the question that has to be answered is where can the CJ
get justice, where can he get justice swiftly, where can
he get justice before his peers.
Jeremie said it was widely- reported in the media by
some who are accusing the State of being oppressive to have
the CJ before two tribunals.
The AG said he made no decisions to prosecute, when to prosecute,
when to withdraw prosecutions, and when to discontinue and
He said this was clearly contemplated by the Privy Council
itself in the Sharma case last year, when it proceeded with
both matters at the same time, when really one complaint
before two separate tribunals would have been oppressive.
Insisting that hes yet to receive a transcript of
the case, Jeremie said he did not control the actions of
Manning, asked for a comment on the matter as he arrived
at yesterdays general council meeting, said:
comment. He promised to comment after the meeting
ended some four hours later.
far from over
Justice Satnarine Sharma yesterday vowed his case was far
from over, but wouldnt say much about it because of
possible impeachment proceedings still hanging over his
In a surprise move yesterday, the prosecution abandoned
its criminal case against Sharma, two days before he was
expected to reply to similar complaints by Mc Nicolls to
Prime Minister Patrick Manning in the newest move to impeach.
Manning, two weeks ago, informed Sharma of his decision
to resume proceedings under Section 137 of the Constitution,
synchronous to the criminal prosecution and predicated on
Mc Nicolls complaints.
Sharmas lawyers are still to say what is their next
now have to get together and discuss what has happened and
will decide on what steps we deem may be necessary,
one of Sharmas lawyers said yesterday.
those who prayed
Justice Satnarine Sharma had a visibly-relieved look as
he sat at his home in Fairways, Maraval, yesterday.
Sitting next to a poinsettia plantstill sporting red
leavesin his patio with a panoramic view of the city
of Port-of-Spain, Sharma was mum when questioned directly
about the Director of Public Prosecution's dropping the
criminal charge against him.
All Sharma would say when the Guardian visited him was that
he wanted to thank all the people who prayed for him during
want to thank all those who have prayed for me, who have
offered words of encouragement.
of them are unknown to me. They write me; some of them telephone
me, while others meet me on the streets.
are the people who have kept me going. I am grateful to
all of them.
One police officer manned the guard booth that led to Sharmas
The area was quiet, unlike the buzz of activity on the evening
of July 14, 2006, when police went to his home to serve
Sharma with a warrant to charge him.
April 1, 2005Prime Minister Manning announces in
Parliament 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 fires 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, 2005Matter enters mediation stage before
the judicial review application filed by Sharma.
January, 2006Mediation talks break down.
May 5, 2006Chief Magistrate Sherman McNicolls 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 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, 2006Sharma files judicial review proceedings,
blocking any further proceedings against him under Section
137. Manning says he will not recommend to the President
the question of removing Sharma, unless he is satisfied
there is a prima facie basis in fact to warrant such an
May 11, 2006The police begin investigations into
Mc Nicolls allegations. ACP Wellington Virgil is
appointed to head the probe. Police search Sharma's office
June, 2006JLSC appoints Justice Humphrey Stollmeyer
to investigate Sharmas allegations against McNicolls.
McNicolls is 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 McNicolls complaint.
July 14, 2006Police unsucessfully 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 appointed to act as CJ until determination
of all legal proceedings involving the complaint by McNicolls.
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.
September 19, 2006Sharma's lawyers withdraw lawsuit
which sought to block any further proceedings against
him under Section 137, as it relates to McNicolls
complaint. His lawyers say it will not be in the interest
of justice to have different courts pronounce on the same
November 30, 2006London Privy Council rules against
Sharma and he gives himself up to the police.
January, 2007Justice Carlton Best orders several
high-ranking office-holders to testify at Sharmas
impeachment case. They include Sharma, Manning, AG Jeremie,
Appeal Court judges Stanley John and Roger Hamel-Smith
(who is now acting as Chief Justice) and DPP Henderson.
Five days in May have been set aside for CX.
February 26, 2007Criminal prosecution against Sharma
begins before Senior Magistrate Lianne Lee Kim.
March 5, 2007Prosecution abandons case against Sharma
after McNicolls indicates he is no longer willing to testify.
say Mc Nicolls must quit
Criminal Bar Association is calling for the immediate resignation
of Chief Magistrate Sherman Mc Nicolls, based on his refusal
to give evidence in the case against former Chief Justice
The case against the CJ was dropped on advice of lead attorney
for the prosecution Gilbert Peterson.
Mc Nicolls, who had previously said he would not be available
for cross-examination in the matter, blatantly refused to
give evidence yesterday.
The announcement was made in Port-of-Spain Magistrates
4A Court before Senior Magistrate Lianne Lee Kim.
Vice president of the association Nizam Mohammed said in
a statement yesterday that Mc Nicolls refusal to face
the test of cross-examination in a court of Law makes his
own position as a judicial officer untenable.
The association also called for Sharmas immediate