The Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has dismissed a case brought by former Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin, challenging his removal from the post four years ago.
After hearing the former top cop’s application last Friday, the CCJ, this country’s highest court of appeal, handed down its decision yesterday, saying the legal appeal filed after Dottin’s official retirement last November was “without practical merit”.
Dottin was also ordered to pay $6,667 in costs to the Police Service Commission.
And with his substantive case still to be heard in the local High Court, the CCJ also chastised the former police chief and his legal team, led by Queen’s Counsel Elliott Mottley in partnership with Queen’s Counsel Leslie Haynes, for seemingly “bypassing the views of the High Court and Court of Appeal”, and attempting to have the CCJ “usurp the role of those courts”.
In fact, they were told in no uncertain terms that they could not “avoid due process under the Barbados judicial system and come directly to this Court”.
It was back in June 2013 that the former police chief was sent on “administrative leave” by the then Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave, after the Police Service Commission recommended his retirement in the public interest.
Dottin promptly filed for judicial review. He also sought a number of injunctions and orders, pending determination of his initial claim.
One such injunction was to restrain steps from being taken to force him to retire and to appoint a new permanent Commissioner. An order was also sought for the status quo to be maintained so that he could return to work as Commissioner of Police.
High Court judge Margaret Reifer heard the interim matter in July 2013 and handed down her decision in September 2013. She substantially granted the interim relief sought by the Commissioner, though only against the Police Service Commission, but refused to make an order enabling the Commissioner to return to work. Dottin later appealed the refusal.
That appeal was heard in February and March 2016 and the judgment handed down in March 2017.
The Court of Appeal subsequently agreed with Justice Reifer’s decision and dismissed the appeal.
By that time reinstatement was not possible as the Commissioner had retired, having commenced pre-retirement leave in November 2016.
With this being the case, the CCJ yesterday encouraged Dottin’s attorneys to proceed with his substantive case.