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Calls for JLSC to release Quinlan tribunal report

Published: 
Friday, May 19, 2017

There are calls from Senior Counsel Martin Daly and former head of the public service Reginald Dumas for the Judicial and Legal Service Commission (JLSC) to release a disciplinary tribunal’s determination of a charge against former Magistrate Avason Quinlan-Williams along with any written reasons or report related to it.

In a joint statement, they said they are “absolutely satisfied” that public interest requires that the determination of the tribunal be released so the public can be assured of the propriety of the appointment of Quinlan-Williams who was appointed a High Court judge on April 12.

Both said they are troubled by a newspaper report last weekend which compares and contrasts the contents of a recording of a bail hearing before Quinlan-Williams as a magistrate in 2009 to what she is reported to have said during disciplinary proceedings against her arising out of her conduct of that hearing.

President Anthony Carmona, who was then Justice Carmona, was reportedly the only member of the tribunal which dealt with a disciplinary charge against Quinlan-Williams in 2013. He reportedly made his determination “perilously close to his elevation as President designate.”

Daly and Dumas said: “Any further delay in releasing his determination runs the clear risk of bringing his office into an unseemly fray. This would be in addition to increasing the ongoing reputational damage to which recent blunderings of the JLSC have exposed the judiciary.”

They said a previous refusal to release the tribunal’s decision was based “on what appears to be a specious ground, uncaring of the public interest and the repugnancy of closed-door justice.”

The JLSC reportedly sent Quinlan-Williams a letter stating that she was exonerated nine months after determination of the charge.

“We do not need to dwell on the current controversies surrounding recent judicial appointments and why, as a result, very many citizens will not accept an assurance from the JLSC as being the end of any matter,” they said in reference to the current unresolved controversy over the elevation of former Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar to the High Court and her subsequent resignation.