Way cleared for inquiry into complaints against Ms Holder-Allen
Stabroek News
November 29, 2006

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Justice William Ramlal on Monday dismissed a court application by Chief Magistrate Juliet Holder-Allen which was seeking to have the proceedings of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to enquire into complaints made against her quashed.

The way is now cleared for the commission to begin hearing the complaints which were made against the Chief Magistrate two years ago while she was in office. Ms Holder-Allen was sent on special leave when the commission instituted disciplinary charges against her and delegated Justice of Appeal, Claudette Singh the power to enquire into the complaints, and if proven, to recommend the appropriate penalty.

The Chief Magistrate then applied to the High Court to stop the proceedings. In court papers filed two years ago, she said the JSC was improperly constituted as it did not have a quorum, and any deliberation in respect of appointing Justice of Appeal Singh was null and void.

She said that no inquiry could lawfully be assembled and deliberated on in the presence of a delegate improperly appointed. She said also that as a Magistrate who is recognised by Article 199 of the Constitution, the Judicial Service Commission has no authority to send her on Special Leave.

However Justice Ramlal ruled that the former Chief Magistrate was not entitled to any of the declarations sought in her application and dismissed the motion. He also awarded costs in favour of the respondents.

The inquiry had stemmed from the JSC receiving several complaints against Ms Holder-Allen. Reports say the allegations made against Ms Holder-Allen relate to several issues: comments made by her in a daily newspaper about the then Chancellor of the Judiciary, Desiree Bernard; a complaint against her by then Human Services Minister, Bibi Shadick; an allegation by a Ms. Duff that the Chief Magistrate used offensive language in her court and a complaint by another magistrate that Ms Holder-Allen interfered with a decision.

On November 15, 2002 the commission sent a letter to Ms Holder-Allen notifying her of a decision taken by the JSC asking her to proceed on special leave with full pay with effect from Monday, November 22, 2002 pending the determination of the charges and until further notice from the JSC.

Ms Holder-Allen had rebuffed the allegations.