TWO AND a half months after returning to office and declaring that the "healing process has begun", Chief Justice Satnarine Sharma is out again. And for the first time in the history of the country, no one has been immediately appointed to perform his functions.
The anomaly has left several top lawyers concerned about the status of the administration of justice, as civil lawsuits must be filed in the name of a sitting Chief Justice. The situation, they said, can only be rectified if the appointment of the person to act as Chief Justice is back-dated.
Officials at the Hall of Justice said yesterday that they had not received any notification from President's House on the issue of appointing an acting Chief Justice.
Sharma, 64, who is scheduled to officially retire in seven months (January 24, 2008), received notice of his suspension shortly after 10 a.m. yesterday at his Hall of Justice office, and after a brief meeting with his immediate staff he left the building, a Judiciary official said.
President George Maxwell Richards on Tuesday received advice from Prime Minister Patrick Manning to suspend Sharma, and, "after due consideration", he exercised his powers to suspend Sharma yesterday until further notice.
Sharma continues to receive his full salary and will have a reduced security detail, officials stated.
He was in the midst of organising the annual retreat for judges of the Supreme Court, as well as upgrading the conditions in several magistrates' courts throughout the country, one source disclosed.
Those close to his camp queried the rush to suspend the Chief Justice, since there have been no developments surrounding an investigative tribunal set up to probe allegations of misconduct following the appointment of retired Privy Councillor Lord Michael Mustill, Sir Vincent Floissac and Dennis Morrison on May 18.
They have not yet taken the oath of office, nor has a secretariat been appointed to provide any information about the procedure, time or place of the hearing.
Sharma's supporters believe that he was suspended from office to prevent him from opening the new law term in September, which would have been his last.
The Chief Justice is yet to get an answer on whether the State would bear his legal costs to defend himself before the tribunal, and he is also anxious to get directions about the format of the hearings from the tribunal's secretariat, who have also not yet been appointed.
His suspension came even as the Judicial and Legal Service Commission was still pondering the fate of Sharma's main accuser, Chief Magistrate Sherman McNicolls, whose reluctance to have his claims tested in cross-examination resulted in the collapse of a criminal complaint against the Chief Justice on March 5.
The commission meets next Tuesday and the matter is likely to be discussed, a reliable source disclosed.
Well it simple. We didnt want an Indian Chief Justice in the first place. How d fuck we go get to lock up Panday and anybody who challenge we? Fuck whether all the cases we try to set up Indians fall flat in the Courts, all that is Sharma doin. So when we niggas and we PNM Govt want to send fuckin Panday, Devant, Feroza and all them people who win dey discrimination battles in Court to jail. Why d fuck we would want Sharma? He causing we to lose all the flimsy cases we set up. We cyah get to lock up who we want. Fuck the people of T&T, we controlling the Treasury and we could pay all dem high profile fuckers like Israel Khan (we jus using he for the time being, because he want big brief) doh mind we losing everyting.
Now fuck retreat for Judges and fuck organising the Magistracy....all dem mudder cunt ting could wait, in any case is only ah set ah niggas sufferin in the Magistrate's Court and we accustom using nigga people. You aint see since 1956 dey livin in shit and squalor and dey does still get on like animal when the election come around. We have dem eating the fuckin Balisier.
Roger is we boy, when he is Cheif Justice we could get to lock up all dem fuckin high profile coolie people. Is just that we fraid to appoint em right now, fuck all the civil matters that await the attention of the CJ.
Oh ho, fuck the tribunal, we just call 3 fuckin names we pick from a hat...by the time we set up ah tribunal, it would be time for Sharma to haul he mudder cunt from the CJ Office. Fuck Sharma who have 7 months again to go.
We go geh Sherman off jus now and everything go be in order as long as you dont cross the border!
Shit, we fuck up again. The mudder cunt Privy Council still dey. Shit we thought we coulda get to the CCJ as the final court of appeal.
Fuck as soon as we figure this one out, we'll be back again!