BACK TO WORK
Supreme Court reinstates police union boss
Jamaica Police Federation Chairman Corporal Rohan James scored a major victory on Friday when the Supreme Court ruled that he should be reinstated in his post immediately with full pay until his motion for judicial review is heard and finally determined.
Justice Tara Carr made the order when she granted Forbes’ application for leave to challenge interdiction and disciplinary charges brought against him.
In granting the application for judicial review, the judge also ordered that the Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson should be a defendant in the matter.
Attorney-at-law Hugh Wildman, who is representing James, said Friday’s ruling means that he can return to work immediately and is to get full benefits.
However, Peter Champagnie, KC, who is representing the defendant, Assistant Commissioner of Police Andrew Lewis, says he will be appealing the order for reinstatement. Champagnie said he was optimistic that his client would be vindicated.
Criticised Police High Command
James was interdicted in July for comments he made at the funeral of a colleague. James had criticised the Police High Command for not paying cops for overtime.
He was receiving 75 per cent of his salary when he was suspended in July, but in August, the Supreme Court ordered that he should be paid 99 per cent of his salary.
In his affidavit filed in court, James contended that his comments did not go beyond the bounds of propriety and fell within Section 13 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees the right to freedom of thought and freedom of expression.
He said that the Police High Command did not follow proper procedures under the Police Service Regulations in placing him on interdiction. He states further that it is the commissioner of police – and not the respondent, Lewis – who has the authority to serve him with approved charges and give him the chance to exculpate himself within a specified time, and if he failed to do so, then he could be charged and interdicted.
However, Wildman is arguing that the procedure was not followed and, in the circumstances, the interdiction was illegal, null and void and of no effect.
Attorneys-law Anthony Armstrong and Duke Foote are appearing with Wildman.
The respondent Lewis is also represented by attorney-at-law Neco Pagon.