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Leys walks away

Published:Tuesday | March 27, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Leys

Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter

THE MINISTRY of Justice is now taking steps to fill the soon-to-be vacant position of solicitor general as news has surfaced that Douglas Leys, who held that post for the last four years, will demit office at the end of the month.

Leys will be going on pre-retirement leave.

The Gleaner has been informed that a senior lawyer in the Attorney General's chambers has been identified to act as solicitor general until someone is selected for the job.

Yesterday, Attorney General Patrick Atkinson told The Gleaner he was not ready to disclose the name of the attorney who would act as solicitor general at this time.

He said the permanent secretary would soon be advertising the position.

"I don't want to be without a solicitor general for too long," Atkinson said.

Leys, who came under intense cross examination during the Manatt-Dudus commission of enquiry for his role in the saga leading up to the extradition of confessed gangster Christopher 'Dudus' Coke, told The Gleaner yesterday he had applied for pre-retirement leave from November 2011.

"I think I have had enough in the government service. I have been there for the past 20 odd years," he said.

Leys also disclosed that he would turn his attention to private practice.

Dismissing any notion that he was leaving the job because of the Manatt debacle, Leys said he had told former Justice Minister Dorothy Lightbourne that he would be going on pre-retirement leave even before the Manatt enquiry.

Atkinson, who in his former role as attorney for Dr Peter Phillips cross-examined Leys at the Manatt enquiry, sought to brush aside any claim that the solicitor general went into pre-retirement because of him.

Atkinson pointed out that Leys carried out his job in a professional manner.

"If I called him to ask to do something he would do it post haste," the attorney general said.

"I did not see any signs of resentment or anything."

He said Leys took the decision to go into early retirement for personal reasons.

Months of controversy

Leys was appointed solicitor general in 2008 following months of controversy surrounding the selection of a new solicitor general, a post which was vacated by Michael Hylton in October 2007.

Former members of the Public Service Commission (PSC) had initially recommended Professor Stephen Vasciannie for the position, but this was rejected by the then Bruce Golding-led administration.

Golding had written to the then Governor General Professor Kenneth Hall and asked that the former members be fired for misconduct.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com