16th Oct 2023 | News
Two significant Judgments for Trinidad and Tobago were handed down on 12 October, in cases involving members of 3 Hare Court.
In the first, Vijay Maharaj v Attorney General, the Privy Council has decided that the colonial-era sedition law is not inconsistent with the Constitution, being rescued from inconsistency with the provisions protecting fundamental rights by the savings clause which preserves existing law; and, importantly, is not inconsistent with s.1 of the Constitution which guarantees that Trinidad and Tobago is a democratic state. The Privy Council did express the provisional view that the offence of sedition will only be committed where there is an intention to incite violence or disorder. This is a welcome development, assuming that view is adopted by the local courts and prosecuting authorities.
Peter Knox KC and Robert Strang appeared for the appellant, Vijay Maharaj, who had brought the case on behalf of his deceased father, Satnarayan Maharaj, a well-known broadcaster and leader in the Hindu community.
Meanwhile in Trinidad, giving judgment in the case of Marcia Ayers-Caesar v Judicial and Legal Services Commission the Court of Appeal ruled that the appellant, the former Chief Magistrate and High Court judge, had been unlawfully ousted from her office by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC). The Court found that Mrs Ayers-Caesar, a newly-appointed judge of the High Court, was coerced into resigning her office as a result of pressure imposed on her by the Chief Justice on behalf of the JLSC. It found that the JLSC had exceeded its constitutional powers by threatening Mrs Ayers-Caesar with disciplinary proceedings in order to procure her swift resignation, in response to a public uproar that had arisen when it became apparent that she had been appointed as a Judge without completing the hearing of matters before her as Chief Magistrate.
Mrs Ayers-Caesar was represented by Ramesh Maharaj SC, leading a team at RLM & Co in Trinidad. Peter Knox KC and Robert Strang, who are door tenants at RLM & Co, have advised Mrs Ayers-Caesar and her Trinidad team throughout the case.