Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer
After a four-year legal battle, former principal of Bethlehem Moravian Teachers' College, Dr Paul Thompson, has prevailed over the institution's Board that fired him in 2008.
In its written ruling, the Supreme Court stated that the disciplinary proceedings against Thompson were not fair as the hearing conducted by the personnel committee wrongfully rejected evidence of probative value.
Board Chairman Lowell Morgan has confirmed that an appeal has been filed and said the matter was now in the hands of their lawyers.
Wants back original post
Thompson told The Gleaner he has every intention of returning to his original post, if the appeal court agrees with the Supreme Court's ruling.
The court was of the view that Thompson was deprived of the opportunity of putting evidence to the committee on the vital issue of credibility.
"To allow the tribunal (personnel committee) to be exposed to material which is more prejudicial than probative, and then disallow a statement which is more probative than prejudicial, breached the requirement of fairness," stated the ruling.
The court also found that the chairman, who brought the complaint against the principal, gave material of a prejudicial nature to the members of the personnel committee in March 2008, nine months before the trial, and as such the principal could not have been guaranteed a fair hearing.
The court was also of the view that the standard of proof for the charges brought by the board was not applied by either the personnel committee or the Teachers' Appeal Tribunal and so Thompson did not have the benefit of the procedure to ensure him a fair hearing.
In so doing, the Supreme Court issued a ruling quashing the 2008 decision of the Board of Bethlehem Moravian to boot Thompson on the recommendation of the personnel committee.
The Board's decision was upheld by the Teachers' Appeal Tribunal.