Levers’ case going to UK Privy Council

| 20/08/2009

(CNS): The tribunal convened to hear the allegations of misbehaviour against Grand Court Justice Priya Levers has recommended that her case be referred to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. The Governor’s Office, which received the completed tribunal report on 17 August, said that because the case is ongoing it is not at liberty to release its contents. However, the referral suggests that the tribunal has made recommendations for some form of action against the judge, including her possible removal from the bench.

The tribunal, which was chaired by Sir Andrew Leggatt heard the case against Justice Levers in May of this year and its remit was to carry out a factual investigation and report to the governor whether the conduct of Madam Justice Levers, taken as a whole, had fallen below the standard reasonably to be expected of a holder of the office of Judge of the Grand Court so as to warrant proceedings for her removal.

The Governor’s Office said today that once the Privy Council has made its ruling a decision will be taken concerning the report’s release. The governor, acting on advice from the tribunal, will now refer the case to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council via a request to the Queen, which is expected to arrive in London in two weeks.

It was stated that the Privy Council will advise on the matter in due course and in the interim, Justice Levers remains on full salary, but she is suspended from duty for an indefinite time.

The advice to refer the matter to the Privy Council is contained in the tribunal’s report to the governor and the referral is in accordance with the governor’s authorities under the Cayman Islands Constitution.

The tribunal was appointed on 25 September 2008, but the intense hearing did not sit until May 2009 when Leggatt and his panel, consisting of Sir Philip Otton and Sir DavidSimmons, heard testimony from a considerable number of witnesses, both locally and overseas, as well as the Chief Justice himself, Anthony Smellie.

Justice Levers was represented by Stanley Brodie QC, and Timothy Otty QC represented the tribunal. During the hearing the most damning accusation was that Justice Levers had written letters to the newspaper under a pseudonym condemning the local judiciary. However, Brodie  managed to demonstrate that there was no evidence to support the accusation, which was accepted by Otty on behalf of the tribunal. With the most serious allegation set aside, Brodie had suggested there was no case for removal and that the tribunal had no jurisdiction to recommend any other action against his client.

Brodie argued that the Cayman Islands Constitution only provides for the tribunal to recommend removal and nothing else. Therefore there was no other lawful route open to them to reprimand or conclude that Levers had still misbehaved in a way that fell short of removal. In short, Brodie made the case that the tribunal had to either recommend removal or exoneration. 

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  1. Anonymous says:

    England should know how the government officials aren’t living up to their oath and respecting the Constitution!


    Also about how the Governor cost our island so much money!


    • Anonymous says:

      I suspect Englandalready has full knowledge and that the Governor has its full support to bankrupt us.  

  2. Anonymous says:

     What a bunch of hypocrites we all know what is going here the double standards in this place is sickening

  3. Anonymous says:

    Look out Judge Judy, the Cayman Islands are setting precedent! No more outspoken, laying it on the line judges! You are all going to be sent to England for banishment!

    What a load of hogwash and waste of money!

    I hate to sound prejudicial but all of these women complaining about one woman that managed to climb her way to the top. No wonder the glass ceiling syndrome persists.

    Just one more thing, sometimes men are right and can be good fathers and should be given the benefit of the doubt. Thank God Judge Levers was fair and level handed otherwise some of these women would always get their way and who knows how their children would have ended up.N

  4. Anonymous says:

    Don’t fool yourselves into thinking that the tribunal  was convened to protect  the greater good or common people; or as a result of a few complaints…  It has more to do with office politics and settlement of scores – an outspoken judge who "some" thought needed to be taught a lesson about keeping her opinions to herself, knowing her place on the totem pole, etc.  

  5. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone remember the former Judge XXXXXXX? Any one who sat in his court room would understand what this is about. Him, XXXXX and the whole gang who chose to speak and behave so disrespectfully to members of the publc should not have been tolerated for so long. Yes judges can be strict but strict does not mean being disrespectful and passing demeaning remarks to people. I am glad that this has happened and I hope that a new atmosphere of respect will emerge as a result. All these judges need to remember that they are not little gods and respect begets respect.

    I just hope that in the end the Cayman Islands Government does not end up with the lions share of the bills in this case but that fees will be ordered "costs in the cause".

  6. Caymanians for Good says:

    After reading the transcripts on Net News it is clear that this judge should be removed and is loosing it-really weird stuff published there. I disagree that we have to go to England to do so and waste more money!

    Get rid of her now…crazy to waste money and pay her for another 6 months.

    Lets demand it now!

    • Anonymous says:

      It is not clear at all, unless you didn’t understand the evidence. There was no evidence to support the most serious charge against her. The whole fortune teller thing was a bunch of nonsense. Since you don’t need the Tribunal’s report, why have the tribunal at all, then? Just remove her because of what a bunch of gossipy women at the court house had to say.

  7. Frequent Flyer says:

    I guess we all read different transcripts because from what I saw, she was indeed discriminatory and out of line. She should be removed from the bench. Maybe other judges need to take notice. You can be a strong judge without prejudicing the case with comments and theatrics!

    It is amazing to me that the posters so far feel that further action is not necessary. Really amazing.

    If you are commenting/posting without reading the transcripts… DON’T!!

  8. noname says:

    This is a serious serious waste of our money already Talk about hidden agendas, misconduct more than Levers needs to go if that is the case The public has read the court transcripts and You know something Cayman cannot afford this foolishness

  9. Anonymous says:

    We all know that there have been other judges and magistrates (including at least one incumbent) who the same charges could have been brought against perhaps with greater justification. It is a question of getting on the wrong side of the wrong people.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Who has to pay for this?

    People please read the transcripts which are available on line and tell me this is necessary! I have read the transcripts and as a suffering Caymanian who is facing cuts I do not find all of this needed.

    So some people talk, but why air-the-dirty-laundry at such an expense? Someone needs to step in and stop this foolishness! I for one would like to know how much money has been spent on all the "mistakes" including the previous chief of police and how more to go!

    If Levers has to go plenty more should follow! We need a clean slate and new leadership in all our legal departments!

  11. Anonymous says:

    "The governor, acting on advice from the tribunal, will now refer the case to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council via a request to the Queen, which is expected to arrive in London in two weeks"

    Two weeks? How is this request being sent, by carrier pigeon?


  12. Anonymous says:

    I have read all the proceedings against this lady and it would seem to me if this judge isremoved a lot more of the judges will be removed just because of their strict demeanor. Does anyone remember Kipling Douglas, we used to call him Krippling Douglas. everyone feared going in front of him becauase he was a very strong and strict judge. all one will have to do now is make an accusation and we will have yet another tribunal.

    These bunch of women who have made their accusations all in some way had an axe to grind and did it very well.  What is going to happen now is that good strong Caribbean judges like Ramsey-Hayle and some of the others are going to becomevery wary of this and will have to resort to the mild demaeanor of the US and Canadian judges. What a shame!!! this country needs strong judges like Justice Levers who got the job done and wasn’t afraid to dole out justice in a fair and firm manner. Crime is rampant and now we are silencing the judges…What else will England do to destroy our beloved Cayman Islands

    • Makam says:

      Yourcomments show a total lack of comprehension of what this whole matter is about. And where do you come up with the idea that this Tribunal was instigated by England. The complaints were all local. Still nice try, as usual one of the many  Caymanians who take to  blaming everyone else for their mistakes! Not that this Tribunal was a mistake!!!