Sat | Mar 28, 2020

Court rules that Gov't should pay full benefits to retired warder

Published:Saturday | December 19, 2015 | 12:00 AM

THE COURT of Appeal has ordered the Government to pay 69-year-old retired prison warder Erlin Hall full retirement benefits due from 2005.

He is also to be paid his salary, allowances, and leave entitlements from October 1987 to 2006.

Hall, who was represented by attorney-at-law Maurice Frankson, had taken the commissioner of corrections and the attorney general to court over his pension benefits.

Hall had been employed in the correctional services since April 1969. He lost the second toe on his right foot in September 1969, when a rifle with which he was armed accidentally discharged.

He claimed he suffered back pains and could not walk properly for some time. The amputation of his toes led to him being off the job for 77 days in 1969.

Off the job frequently

Hall was off the job frequently, which, he said, was due to illness. In September 1990, he was summarily dismissed.

He challenged the matter before the full court to have the dismissal quashed and was successful.

Hall continued in the service until August 2011 when he was retired with 50 per cent pension benefits. Although Hall was employed to the department for 37 years, it turned out that he actually performed his duties for only 20 years of that period, having been off the job, though still in the department's employ for much of the remainder of the 17 years. He was also injured in April 1987, when he was harmed during a clash with a prisoner.

He challenged the matter in the full court, contending that he was entitled to full pension, but lost. He took the matter to the Court of Appeal, which ruled in his favour yesterday.

The court said it seemed that, apart from procedural fairness, one arguable point that Hall could have advanced was that even if the Public Service Commission was minded to divide the period of his service between the 20 years and the 17 years, he should be paid the full pension for the 20 years he was on the job and not 50 per cent. The court said he could also have argued that there was nothing untoward about his conduct over the last 17 years that he remained employed to the department. The court found that the court below erred in finding that the reduction of Hall's pension was eminently fair.