A Queen’s Counsel has advised the Prime Minister that there was insufficient evidence to institute impeachment proceedings against Chief Justice Ivor Archie.
The legal opinion was provided to the Prime Minister by Howard Stevens, QC. It was dated April 25, 2019.
This opinion was sought by Rowley subsequent to the Law Association asking the him to set up a tribunal to consider impeachment against Archie under Section 137 of the Constitution. This after the Law Association received advised on the question.
In his opinion, Stevens found no evidence of communication between the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice.
“If however there was a WhatsApp message between the Chief Justice and the Chief Justice my advice could differ. If therefore, contrary to my understanding, there was such a communication, I would want to consider matters further.” he said.
The controversy stemmed from a series of newspaper articles that accused Archie of attempting to persuade his judges to change their State-provided security to a private company in which his friend and convicted fraudster Dillian Johnson worked. Another allegation claimed that the Chief Justice had directly approached the Prime Minister to secure state housing via the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) for three of his friends.
Stevens said, “The conclusion I reach in all the circumstances is that the HDC complaints have an insufficient basis in fact to warrant a representation by the Prime Minister to the President that the Chief Justice out to be investigated.”