Justice Levers facing tribunal

| 16/09/2008

(CNS):  UPDATED — Despite denials that there was anything amiss regarding Madam Justice Priya Levers by the Chief Justice Anthony Smellie in July, the Governor has now announced the appointment of a tribunal to investigate complaints relating to Levers that arose in April of this year, which the justice has said she welcomes.

In a pressstatement issued this morning, 16 September, HE the Governor Stuart Jack said that in April 2008 certain complaints relating to Madam Justice Priya Levers, Judge of the Grand Court, were brought to his attention.

“Having given the matter the most careful consideration I have appointed a Tribunal under the relevant provisions of the Constitution to inquire into the matter and report back to me,” he said. “The Tribunal will be chaired by the Rt. Hon. Sir Andrew Leggatt QC.  I have suspended Madam Justice Levers from performing her judicial functions whilst this process is taking place. I will keep the public informed about the Tribunal and I will provide further details in due course.”

At around 1 pm today Justice Levers issued a statement in response, via her own legal counsel, stating that on Friday, 12 September, she had been informed by the Governor of his intention to initiate an Inquiry pursuant to Section 49(J) (4) of the Cayman Islands (Constitution) Order 1972.
"Madame Justice Levers welcomes theInquiry and the appointment of Sir Andrew Leggatt as its Chairman. She denies any of the misbehaviour alleged and, with the assistance of her experienced legal team, intends to vigorously defend all the allegations made against her to the fullest extent permissible by the law," said Anthony Akiwumi, Head of Litigation at Stuarts Walker Hersant. "Given the defined scope of the Inquiry, the Governor’s decision completely exonerates Madame Justice Levers from any financial impropriety or irregularity previously and erroneously implied by earlier media reports."

CNS has submitted enquiries to the Governor’s Office regarding the denials earlier this year by the Chief Justice and regarding Justice Levers’s circumstances when those denials were made, and awaits a response.

On 23 July, in the wake of numerous requests for information and comments on circulating reports that Justice Levers was the subject of an investigaiton and had been suspended, Chief Justice Smellie issued a very short statement: "The reports that Justice Levers has been suspended are incorrect. The Judge is presently away on leave,” he said at the time.

 

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Comments (6)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    "Never doubt anything until Government has confirmed it"

  2. Anonymous says:

     Justice Levers is a brilliant lady with an impeccable past. Practically speaking why would she, at this stage in her life, and considering the obvious serious risk, engage in actions such as that of which she is accused. I do not for one moment believe that the accusations are true. Instead I believe that they are being orchestrated by some very dangerous characters operating in the upper echelons of our legal system who are seeking to dispose of an Honourable Justice of the Grand Court who actually has the courage to be different and stand up for real JUSTICE! There are many, many people who wish her the very best in this ridiculous affair.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It is important that news releases are read carefully. Madame Justice Levers was falsely alleged to have had questionable receipts. There is no question of "let off". On the contrary financial impropriety was never an allegation.  No one is assured of anything and you should not imply falsities.

    • Anonymous says:

      The story has similarly stated (not even "implied") that the Chief Justice had made "denails that there was anything amiss."  That too is false, as all can see who read the statement the CJ had made.  That was the situation that had existed at the time that the statement was issued.

      This is a serious constitutional, legal matter — one that must adhere carefully to well-established procedures — and statements must very correctly reflect the situation as it is at any given time; also, one cannot prejudice outcomes by making premature statements.

      Perhaps the press needs to consider that it is in Judge Levers’ interest that this matter be handled very carefully, correctly, and with due process.

  4. Anonymous says:

    No, I think that we have to conclude that there were no allegations of financial impropriety to begin with, depsite what was rumoured to have been the case. Given the fact that it was the Chief Justice who brought all this to the attention of the Governor and it is he who is spearheading the movement to remove Justice Levers, I find it difficult to believe that anyone is doing her any favours. If any favours were to be handed out, it would have been to sweep whatever complaints there are under the rug and the Governor would have been none the wiser. None of the complaints were addressed to him and all were funnelled through the Chief Justice.

    According to media reports, there is no love lost between those two for whatever reason and if there was a charge that could viably be run against Justice Levers, I’m almost certain that the Chief Justice would have levied it. While I have no idea whatsoever the specific charges are, judicial misbehavior (the ground upon which the inquiry is founded) is defined by the relevant section of the Constitution. It is an umbrella charge in which all sorts of actions will fall. The analogy therefore is not at all suitable for present purposes. Complaints are brought to the Governors attention and he is advised by the tribunal whether those amount to misbehaviour.

    The inquiry is based on the complaints. If there were complaints of some kind of financial underhandedness, they would have been included. The fact that they aren’t simply means that there were none to begin with.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Mr Akiwumi is confident that his client is already completely exonerated.

    The reason he sited and I quote " Given the defined scope of the Inquiry, the Governor’s decision completely exonerates Madame Justice Levers from any financial impropriety or irregularity previously and erroneously implied by earlier media reports."

    Are we to conclude that Justice Levers while subject to an inquiry, has been "let off" by carefully definig the scope of the inquiry to allow an innocent out. May other criminals get that sort of administrative acquittal. The people responsible for laying the charges simply charge the accused with a crime even though similar to the layman  can easily be dismissed. For instance, someone "obtaining money by deception" will be charged with "theft" which is similar but a very different legal entity.

    It is discouraging if this ploy is used not only by the legal department to protect their friends but also by even higher powers.