Friday 13th April, 2018 –A noted Barbadian lawyer representing Commissioner of Police Wendell Robinson has written to the Police Service Commission demanding he be re-instated.
Just over a week after his suspension for alleged questionable conduct, Sir Richard ‘Johnny’ Cheltenham in a letter to the PSC Chairman Kelvin John dated 13th April, 2018 deemed the suspension of his client unlawful and insupportable for several reasons.
The Barbadian attorney informed the PSC chairman that the letter should be treated as a pre-action protocol.
In his letter Sir Richard penned that given the grave repercussions for the certainty of the leadership of the police force as well as for his client Wendell Robinson, both in terms of his future career and his financial standing since he has been put on half pay leave; a most urgent reply is merited.
Wendell Robinson’s lawyer says he anticipates the revocation of his client’s suspension and his restoration to full duty with all entitlements on or before 20th April, 2018. If not, he has informed the PSC chairman if the suspension is not revoked, then he will proceed directly to Court without further reference to the commission.
The Barbadian attorney told the commission chairman that their actions violated the law adding there were several critiques in taking such action, referring to the PSC’s quoting of Regulation 16 (a) of the Police Discipline Regulations as well as Section 37 of the Police Act.
“When section 37 and regulation 16 are read together, the Commission has no authority to suspend the Commissioner without having first laid a complaint or charge against him. The interpretation adopted and applied by the Commission would result in a manifest absurdity, namely that junior officers up to the rank of Inspector are afforded greater procedural protection in the disciplinary process that senior officers,” the letter outlined.
“Even if the Commission has a discretion to suspend before instituting an investigation or laying charges against the Commissioner, such a discretion has to be exercised fairly and rationally. The commissioner was afforded no opportunity to comment on the allegations made against him or to be heard before the Commission took such a drastic and punitive sanction. The requirement to afford a person an opportunity to be heard before taking action detrimental to his interests is not an empty formality, but is a fundamental rule of fair play and natural justice which has been breached in his case. In brief, he has not been accorded due process.”
“No adequate reasons for the suspension have been provided. To say that the allegations are serious is, quite simply, not enough,” the pre-action protocol outlined.