Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator
THE COURT of Appeal has upheld a Judicial Review Court ruling in July 2007 which had reinstated Detective Inspector Donovan O'Connor, popularly called 'Hux'.
He was informed in 2005 that he was to be retired in the public interest. O'Connor, who joined the force in 1980, had continued to serve after he won his case in court.
The appellants, who were the Police Service Commission (PSC), the Commissioner of Police and the Services Commission, took the matter to the Court of Appeal challenging the decision of Justice Donald McIntosh. The appellants, who were represented by attorney-at-law Karlene Larmond from the Attorney-General's Office, filed several grounds of appeal. They contended that Justice McIntosh failed to take into account that the decision of the PSC was arrived at on relevant material.
Attorney-at-law Bert Samuels, who represented O'Connor, argued that the rules of natural justice were breached. It was also argued that O'Connor was not charged for any of the alleged unprofessional conduct either departmentally or in a court of law.
Samuels pointed out that O'Connor performed his duties professionally despite being shot twice and being stabbed and seriously injured in 2003 during police operations.
O'Connor received 14 commendations up to the time when he was notified that he was to be retired.
The PSC had indicated that 35 complaints were made against the Inspector but Samuels argued that 33 of them were without particulars as to time, the nature of the complaints or name of the complainants in these 33 complaints.
The Court of Appeal, comprising Justice Dennis Morrison, Justice Mahadev Dukharan and Justice Hilary Phillips, upheld Justice McIntosh's ruling that the decision to retire O'Connor breached the principles of natural justice in that he was not afforded a fair hearing.
O'Connor, who was appointed an Inspector in 2000, will continue to serve as a result of the Court of Appeal's ruling.