Suspended commissioner’s case up for judicial review
The High Court has “thrown out” the application of Darwin Dottin for an injunction urging it to reinstate him as Commissioner of Police.
The court’s ruling today signified only part one of a victory for the Police Service Commission, which had recommended to the Governor-General, that the top cop be sent home in the public interest. For part two of the process, the court ordered that a case management conference be held on October second for a judicial review of the matter to determine the way forward.
A written judgement will be made available tomorrow for public consumption.
Dottin’s attorney Queen’s Counsel, Elliott Mottley declined to comment tonight.
It was through his lawyers, Mottley and Queen’s Counsel Leslie Haynes, that he had argued the letter which the Police Service Commission had sent to the embattled top cop on June 17, was invalid and ineffectual. They were also contesting that the decision or advice was in breach of the principles of natural justice and that it was also an improper and irregular, or unreasonable exercise of discretion.
Dottin was also asking the court to constrain the Service Commission from carrying out an enquiry, which it intended to do. Based on recommendations from the PSC, Governor-General, Sir Elliott Belgrave sent the senior lawman on administrative leave, pending the outcome of his enforced retirement “in the public interest.”
Dottin’s troubles with the force’s governing body escalated after investigations into allegations of illegal wiretapping by the Royal Barbados Police Force were initiated by the Police Service Commission.
In a document of its subsequent findings, which was served on Dottin and subsequently lodged in the Supreme Court, the PSC highlighted that probably for the first time Barbados found itself in a “dangerous and untenable” position in relation to policing activity.
The body charged that there was “irrefutable evidence” that the force had been bugging the phones of several Barbadian citizens who were not known or suspected to be involved in any criminal activity. This action had made law-abiding citizens afraid to use their telephones. It was described as “disturbing” that much of the wiretapping activity seemed to be politically motivated.
The PSC indicated that this activity compromised the integrity of communications of Government officials and was a threat to Barbados’ democratic way of life.
The court document also alleged that the phones of a number of senior police officers, magistrates and members of the PSC had also been tapped.
Sixty-three-year-old Dottin has been at the helm of the force for nine years. (EJ)