Chief Justice Sat Sharma Cleared

CJ Sat SharmaPM on Mustill Report: I have no further role in matter
“The Prime Minister merely referred the matter to the President to appoint the tribunal. The Prime Minister has no further role to play. I am waiting like everyone else.”
Prime Minister Patrick Manning is distancing himself from the findings of the Mustill Report that cleared Chief Justice Satnarine Sharma of any wrongdoing.

CJ Sharma cleared
Hours after he received an official copy of the Lord Mustill Tribunal report, President George Maxwell Richards revoked the suspension of embattled Chief Justice Sat Sharma, paving the way for him to return to his job at the Hall of Justice, Port-of-Spain, today.

The Chief Justice does not have to prove anything at all.
His stance is purely defensive

Chief Justice Satnarine Sharma yesterday dusted off his judicial robes, ready to return to office today after an international tribunal found that the case brought against him on a charge of judicial misconduct was weak.

Cleared by impeachment tribunal…
Sharma plans return to work

In a bold move, an insistent Chief Justice Satnarine Sharma says he intends to return to his chambers at the Hall of Justice today, having been let off by the impeachment tribunal which investigated him…

President: Mustill report to be made public soon
The contents of the long-anticipated Mustill tribunal report will soon be made public, President George Maxwell Richards said yesterday.

CJ doesn’t have to prove anything

14 Responses to “Chief Justice Sat Sharma Cleared”

  • The Mustil Report has finally arrived.

    On the elections hustings two wannabe aspirnts to the throne brayed loudly that the report was already here and demnd were made to have it released.

    One wonders not what is going through their minds now that the eggs are on their faces.

  • Report a wake-up call, says Daly
    Saturday, December 22nd 2007

    Meanwhile, Senior Counsel Martin Daly, commenting on the findings of the Mustill report, said it was difficult to understand why the Chief Justice was pursued on the basis of what was described by the tribunal as a “fragmentary calumny” (on such fragile and weak evidence), and why he should have suffered a three-month suspension on the basis of a witness whose credibility was shot before the 137 Enquiry (by the tribunal) began by his as yet unexplained refusal to testify in the criminal matter.

    Saying that his comments were based exclusively on the conclusions of the report published exclusively in the Express yesterday, Daly said the judiciary as an institution, however, must take careful note of the tribunal’s comments about the lack of discretion.

    He said if the public confidence in the judiciary was to be restored, the judiciary must published (if such existed) or create guidelines to deal with the indiscretions described by Lord Mustill. He said public confidence in the justice system would still remain shaken, because “we still don’t know what really went on between McNicolls and the Executive and the businessmen, because it was not part of Lord Mustill’s mandate to find those facts”.

    Daly said the public was still left with the feeling that the judiciary could be manipulated by the politicians and businessmen.

    Sat’s second coming
    It was the second coming of Chief Justice Sat Sharma to the Hall of Justice in Port-of-Spain.

    COP wants Mc Nicolls resignation
    The Congress of the People (COP) yesterday charged that the Section 137 tribunal report, which cleared Chief Justice Satnarine Sharma and paved the way for him to resume duties, shows there was a “vendetta” to remove Sharma from office.

  • The Mustill Report is merely a more eloquent portrayal of what every citizen of TnT, if they were not motivated by insidious considerations, knew all along. This incident was motivated by politics and met its appropriate and shameful demise when men of judicial competence and ethical convictions stripped the conspiracy of its fig leaf.

    As I ponder the matter in light of what has transpired–the legal ramblings in the courts, the involvement of the police in attempting to arrest and charge the CJ, the gruesome statements and oulandish behavior of high ranking judicial officials who took oaths to uphold the law and not betray the peoples’ trust–I can only conclude that the citizens of TnT were the unrepresented victims in this entire legal drama.

    It is virtually incomprehensible to me that there were those who were prepared, for personal ends, to shred the constitution, unravel the social fabric and wreck the ship of state to pursue such a dubious expedition.

    It is this type of divisiveness and rancour which contributes to the worsening cancer called crime in TnT. The time has come, however, when no more excuses should be tolerated for governmental failure to restore faith in the system of justice and the persistent inattention to the safety of citizens who are being ravaged by criminals.

    Now that the sideshow is over it’s time to get to the main concerns of the electorate.

  • This is over. Perhaps there is a cautionary tale here that speaks to integrity in public life. One fact is that public persons, except when speaking in the privacy of a conversation with spouse or lover, in a bedroom, is speaking publicly. As such, a diner conversation in a restaurant is cause for concern. Calling some subordinate to ones office to discuss a case,is a cause for concern.
    Talking to another learned QC on an aircraft is a cause for concern.

    That may not leave many conversation options, but integrity in public life requires squeaky clean public behaviour, like that expected of Caesar’s wife. In this holiday season, let us ponder, with compassion, on the loneliness of those who carry the high burdens of national leadership.

    President Richards has again shown his statesmanship. Some thought he was an ivy-towered carnival fete lover. Now we see him in the many faceted light of a true leader.May his multi-ethnic family be a true symbol of who we can be.

  • Findings

    And although Sharma was cleared, he was not spared critcisms by the tribunal of his conduct during the time under review, which was described as “without blemish.”

    The jurists highlighted:

    n Sharma’s “jovial chat” with Sir Timothy Cassel, QC, about the pending Basdeo Panday case.

    n His raising of the Hindu wives topic (which was used by Panday as his defence at trial) on more than one occasion.

    n His “intemperate press release” (about the allegations against him).

    n The “overheated” terms of his counter-complaint about Mc Nicolls to the Judicial and Legal Services Commission about the land deal.

    “All these combined with the impression gained during his oral evidence to suggest a propensity to speak and write more freely than was wise,” the tribunal said.

    “Without the balanced sensitivity and distance which should be the hallmarks of a senior judge.”

    Due process demands that convicting evidence of wrong doing be preponderant rather than vague and anectdotal. The charges against the Chief Justice was thus legitimately discharged. Let us hope that all of those who laud this example of legal jurisprudence be as accepting of it across the board.

    Aside from that, clearly the Chief Justice engages in behaviour that can give rise to questions of his impartiality in coming to judicial decisions. A pre-requisite of justice is that it not only be done, but that it manifestly conveys the appearance of being done. Enough said

  • Todays papers show that the price tag on the whole CJ affair came up to a mind boggling $25 million dollars! Although the CJ has not been without blame, and has by no means come out squeaky clean, the impeachment charges were generally shown to be weak (in the opinion of the arbitrator), baseless and led to a monumental waste of tax payers dollars. That money could have been put to better use, perhaps to refurbish schools, assist the police to fight crime, or somehow help the people of T&T to have a better Christmas. Anyway, as they say, spilt milk and all of that. I hope that the country could move on, and put this behind as quickly as possible. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!!

  • $25M for Sharma case

    Monday, December 24 2007

    THE STATE has spent roughly $25 million pursuing Chief Justice Sat Sharma.

    This includes the monies spent on lawyers for the judicial review case all the way to London in 2006, and the expensive impeachment tribunal headed by retired Privy Council Judge, Lord Michael Mustill three months ago.

    This does not include the ongoing four-year battle by the State to impeach Sharma over the Naraynsingh affair.

    From the moment Chief Magistrate Sherman Mc Nicolls reported to then Attorney General John Jeremie in May 2006 that Sharma tried to influence him to reach a verdict favourable to former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday in his integrity trial, the State hired lawyers to get an opinion of the matter.

    Realising that the State was closing in on him with respect to that allegation, Sharma went to the Port-of-Spain High Court seeking to block his arrest on a charge of attempting to pervert the course of public justice.

    The State hired several attorneys headed by Douglas Mendes SC. Sharma won the matter before Madame Justice Judith Jones. The State appealed and again expensive lawyers were retained to argue the appeal. The Appeal Court reversed the judge’s decision and Sharma went to the Privy Council in October 2006.

    At the Privy Council, Sharma was represented by English Queen’s Counsel Andrew Mitchell and Desmond Allum SC. English QC Michael Beloff represented the Commissioner of Police, while Sir Godfray Le Quesne appeared for the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Carla Brown- Antoine.

    Several Trinidad lawyers appeared in the Privy Council — Douglas Mendes SC, Gilbert Peterson SC, Ian Benjamin, Stuart Young, Colin Kangaloo, and State attorneys Nirmala Bansee, and Rehanna Hosein. After the Privy Council dismissed Sharma’s case on November 30, 2006, the embattled Chief Justice surrendered to police where a warrant was executed on him. The State then hired Gilbert Peterson SC to lead the prosecution’s case against Sharma. But that did not last more than four sessions as Mc Nicolls refused to testify and the case collapsed.

    Prime Minister Patrick Manning then decided to institute impeachment proceedings against Sharma.

    Three members — Lord Mustill, Sir Vincent Floissac SC, and Dennis Morrison QC — were appointed by President George Maxwell Richards on May 16, but the instruments were not handed over until July 26.

    The tribunal held its first meeting on July 27 and then fixed the hearing of the impeachment inquiry for September 17 to 28.

    It is then the costs skyrocketed. The State had to pay the tribunal members for conducting the inquiry, a sum which would run into millions of dollars. The tribunal members stayed for more than two weeks at the Trinidad Hilton and had the facility of having chauffeur-driven vehicles during their stay.

    Jeremie gave the undertaking that the State would pay “reasonable” legal costs incurred by Sharma. But up to yesterday, $2.6 million of the $4 million claim made by Sharma, was still outstanding.

    The outstanding monies include “refreshers” for Sharma’s lawyers (Geoffrey Robertson QC, Kirsty Brimelow, Sophia Chote, Rajiv Persad and Dennis Gurley). It also included hotel accommodation and travel expenses incurred by the two English lawyers during the period of the tribunal hearings as well as Sharma’s trip to London in August to instruct his lawyers there.

    Lawyers were also hired to represent Mc Nicolls at the inquiry — Stanley Marcus SC, Israel Khan SC, and Ian Benjamin. The establishment of the tribunal secretariat was another costly exercise. Counsel to the tribunal was Reginald Armour SC with his juniors being Eleanor Araujo and Vanessa Gopaul.

    The 58-page report of the tribunal was released last Thursday and it cleared Sharma of any wrong doing. He returned to work on Friday.,70275.html

  • If you ask me Mr. Manning’s salary should be garnisheed. He should pay this $25 million bill not us taxpayers. If in the first place he had done what the constitution say he must do, then all the long, drawn out procedure wouldn’t have followed. The President would have appointed the tribunal long time, since the Naraynsingh affair and the matter would have been dealt with.
    Trini politicians like to play smart with foolishness too much.

  • As lon as there are peoplein TnT who believe they were born to rule, but not to be ruled by others, every internal dissent in the country could end up at the doorstep of the Judicial Comittee of the Privy Council, which is not freeness. e might do well, while lamentin the cost of this one, to look at the costs of the ast ten years of matters taken before the Privy Council, and how they ruled. It seems to balance out. Could we have solved these problems more inexpensively?Notif some people continue to think that they could play fast and loose with both rules and ethics, and behave as if they are untouchable. I would wish for the new year that senior members of the judiciary,watch their mouths. The fault is not MAnning’s though many would see it so.Mr. Manning did not initiate action until matters were bought to his attention. If Mr. Sharma’s behaviour was above board at all times, we could have saved $25 million.

    I hope too that the judiciary would deal with the matter of a warrant rescinded by phone call. Is this to be how we would act in the future?

    Now, when did the taxpayer feel any real pinch due to these expenditures? We could only lament what we could hav done with the money. A purely theoetical situation.

  • A waste of money is a waste of money. A purely theoretical situation it may be, but I think that hard-working tax-paying resident Trinis may beg to differ. Those living in Valencia suffering hardships without piped water for the last five weeks or so may not think it theoretical. As may those who have had to stay away from schools due to poor infrastructure or rat infestations. Although I live abroad and don’t pay taxes in Trinidad, I sympathise simply because I have many friends and family who have had to foot that bill, irregardless of who was right or wrong.

  • Kerry and Company are without doubt very intelligent individuals but to make the argument that the money spent on the CJ affair ($25M) could be used for something else is totally ridiculous. As PM would Kerry turn his back on news brought to his attention that senior judicial officers were making deals with private citizens and discussing matters before the court with Tom, Dick and Harry? Or would he seek judical redress from an independent body? Also, at what price do we place freedom? Is $1M…..$25M too much?

    The moment one gets into such a silly argument with with regards to putting a price on democracy we would get into trouble because not price limit should ever be placed on the limits we may go to preserve democracy.

  • If the Prime Minister was not so hell-bent on removing the CJ, he would have seen that the complaint presented to him by Chief Magistrate Sherman Mc Nicholls was weak and the counter-charge made against the Chief Magistrate concerning the million-dollar land deal pointed to a bigger, sinister plot. When the Chief Magistrate refused to testify in court the Prime Minister should not have continued to treat him as a credible accuser and should have ended impeachment proceedings.

    Chief Magistrate Sherman Mc Nicholls, Attorney General John Jeremie, PNM financier, treasurer and CLICO heavyweight Andre Monteil, and the Prime Minister appeared to have been in some kind of plot to remove the CJ from office, and none of these people wanted to testify in open court and besides Mc Nicholls, they did not want to testify at the tribunal.

    The CJ displayed poor judgment and could have been guilty as charged but his accuser, together with other members of the PNM, was not credible so, of course, they wasted taxpayers’ money.

  • It will be nice.come january 24,2008,when the CJ take his tail back to the wherever he came from and leave the Judciary of TNT alone so that the ( Government which is in reality the UNCA and the PNM ) could get together and appoint a Proper CJ who will follow the footsteps and great respect of Sir,Hugh Wooding!

  • Ex-CJ Sharma gets his $M

    Thursday, April 10 2008

    THE OFFICE of the Attorney General has approved payment of millions in legal fees owed to former Chief Justice Satnarine Sharma, bringing an end to a behind-the-scenes legal battle which ensued for a full three months after Sharma was cleared of allegations of misconduct.

    Newsday had learnt that the AG’s Office approved the payment of a final installment of $2.6 millon owed to the CJ’s lawyers, notwithstanding that it questioned the role of Senior Counsel Pamela Elder in last year’s Section 137 Tribunal proceedings brought against Sharma.

    Sharma flew out to London on Monday to start a European tour, sources close to the former CJ said.

    They added that he would not yet be aware that the legal wrangle had come to an apparent conclusion.

    The retired CJ will thus miss this morning’s status hearing of judicial review proceedings initiated by him challenging a separate set of impeachment proceedings against him on the basis of his alleged involvement in the dropped criminal case against surgeon Vijay Naraynsingh.

    That matter, when it comes up before Justice Carlton Best in the Port-of-Spain High Court today, is expected to be withdrawn.

    By letter dated July 3, last year, John Jeremie, the former Attorney General, had agreed “to meet the reasonable cost incurred by the Chief Justice” in connection with the Tribunal proceedings.

    After the close of Tribunal proceedings at the Winsure Building on Richmond Street on September 27, Sharma’s lawyers submitted a bill for $2.6 million.

    They had submitted an initial $1.8 million bill for work done up to July.,76639.html

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