CCJ overturns ruling in child custody case

The Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Tuesday overturned a decision made back in January by the Court of Appeal of Barbados in a child custody case.

The original suit was filed by the father back in 2014 when the child was 13 years old.

And following an investigation ordered by the trial judge into the living circumstances of both parents and the welfare of the child, the Child Care Board completed its first report in May 2014 and a second report in October of the same year.

The mother subsequently requested the notes of the October 2014 report, which recommended that the father be given primary custody. However, her request was denied by the Child Care Board for reasons of confidentiality.

Litigation ensued over whether the material requested should be disclosed and the matter was initially decided in the mother’s favour, but later reversed by the local Court of Appeal.

On that basis, the mother decided to take the case to the CCJ.

In its ruling, the CCJ, which is the island’s final court, upheld the trial judge’s order which had directed the Child Care Board to disclose its file notes from interviews conducted.

The Court further ordered the Board to deliver its notes to the attorney representing the mother by March 24, unless the parties can agree to custody arrangements which are approved by the High Court.

“While we had, regretfully, to undertake this appeal without the benefit of the reasons of the Court of Appeal, we can fathom no proper basis on which that court could have set aside the judgment of the trial judge,” the five-member CCJ panel headed by its President Sir Dennis Byron said in rendering its decision.

“If, in a case like this one, a judge takes all the relevant factors into account, demonstrates sensitivity to meeting both the legitimate interests of the Board and the mother’s right to a fair trial, and applies
the right principles, an appellate court cannot be justified in setting aside the exercise of the judge’s discretion.

“The judge properly considered that the public interest in the Board’s confidentiality was insubstantial since the relevant information and the respective sources of that information had already been disclosed in the reports and the oral testimony of the officer.

“In all the circumstances, we allow the appeal and order that the judgment of the trial judge should be restored,” the CCJ added.

The regional court also expressed regret that the full names of the parties and the child had made their way into some of the documents that were filed.

“We agree with the Chief Justice [of the Court of Appeal] that this should not be repeated,” the CCJ said.

It also weighed in on the issue of confidentiality, saying it must be balanced against the public interest in a fair trial and the court is required to strike that balance.

“If, after the balancing exercise, public interest immunity prevails, then the information is not to be taken into account by the decision maker in determining the substantive matter,” the CCJ said.

The matter was filed before the Trinidad-based court in February and its judgment delivered in March, a mere five weeks after the matter was first heard.

Source: (CMC)

20 Responses to CCJ overturns ruling in child custody case

  1. jrsmith March 22, 2017 at 5:37 am

    Is this court is set up only to hear cases against and dealing with barbados , its just a Trinidad court ……..
    I thing barbados should build a wall along the south west shore line to keep Trinidadians out…….

    • Alana B March 22, 2017 at 6:48 am

      Keep Trinidad out? It’s just a Trinidad Court? We need to be careful with that kind of thinking. We are all small Sovereign States that ought to work together for the good of the Caribbean. The CCJ was set up under the Treaty of Chaguaramas where all fourteen countries agreed to have the CCJ as the final Court of Appeal. Therefore, rulings of the CCJ are binding upon all States that are signatories to the agreement.

      Another thing, all these small States including Barbados are vulnerable in the global economy. We need to open our eyes to the economic realities around us. Barbados just borrowed from state-owned banking group First Citizens in Trinidad and Tobago after it was downgraded to CCC+ from B- by the S&P rating agency recently the sum of $25M US and was to serve as bridging finance for a loan from the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) for the restructuring of the Barbados Revenue Authority to include the island’s Customs Department. It is a short-term loan.

      The present Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago and his Cabinet has been gracious to the people of Barbados since coming into office in September, 2015 much unlike the former People’s Partnership Government led by former PM kamla Persad-Bissessar. Do you remember when she said Trinidad and Tobago is not an ATM?

      Please remember that we need each other for survival, economic and otherwise.

      • Haskell Murray March 22, 2017 at 8:14 am

        Well said, we are one people and one destiny. A lot of west indians in this case bajans are ignorant to these issues and use forum such as this and others to spew their ignorance.

      • Haskell Murray March 22, 2017 at 8:17 am

        Well said Alana B, we are one people and one destiny. A lot of west indians in this case bajans are ignorant to these issues and use forum such as this and others to spew their ignorance.

        • Alana B March 22, 2017 at 9:34 am

          I want to make another call at this forum of all MEN in Barbados who believe they have been unfairly treated at any level of the Judiciary to step forward and present your case. You have rights as well not just women.

          Challenge the status quo. You are the other parent and have a right to custody as well. If you so desire, joint custody or even legal custody with care and control of your child/children

          Stand up for your rights!

    • Haskell Murray March 22, 2017 at 8:08 am

      This is pure nonsense you just wrote

    • Margaret P March 22, 2017 at 8:24 am

      Well done! Brilliant example of what a stupid comment, well-placed, can do. Instead of discussing Barbados’ shameful judicial “system’, we are now discussing relations with our neighbours.


  2. Margaret P March 22, 2017 at 8:22 am

    Well done! Brilliant example of what a stupid comment, well-placed, can do. Instead of discussing Barbados’ shameful judicial “system’, we are now discussing relations with our neighbours.

    • Alana B March 22, 2017 at 9:29 am

      Barbados Judicial system is linked to CCJ Ma’am. There rests the final court of Appeal to anyone who believe they have been unfairly treated.

      Any ruling at the level of the High Court can be challenged there. Fairness, justice and equity can be found within the system based on the preponderance of evidence in Civil Matters and on the Burden of Proof in Criminal matter.

      And yes, there is representation of member states who preside at that level.

      Be so informed Margaret P.

      • Alana B March 22, 2017 at 9:39 am

        Discussing relations with our neighbours is also not a new thing, it continues to be relevant.

        Those who live in a bubble and make judgments upon the comments of others should look within themselves to determine if their comments makes any sense at all. In the circumstances.

      • Colin Shammua Mekonnen Roach January 11, 2018 at 5:32 am

        Alana B,

        You are responding as if Margaret P made a bad statement.

  3. Alana B March 22, 2017 at 9:45 am

    Men of Barbados. Your right to custody of your child/children is open to challenge.

    Both parents can parent

    • Colin Shammua Mekonnen Roach January 11, 2018 at 5:30 am

      Alana B: You are sounding as if a father shouldn’t file for custody if he sees a need to ?

      Any sex can be challenged Male or Female.

  4. Aneta March 22, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    Though I don’t trust Trinidadians(having worked with them for a long period) I totally agree with you Alana B
    We cannot exist alone. More so, I too believe in equality. Men are sometimes exploited by some very heartless and ruthless women. So stand up men

    • Alana B March 22, 2017 at 12:44 pm

      I understand the issue of trust and confidence only too well Aneta.

      MESA need to become vocal again with the support of us ‘the women who support gender equality’.

  5. Othneal March 22, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    There is such a thing as “small island mentality. There is no shame in the condition, neither is it terminal. Education is the treatment.
    The CCJ is a regional court serving the signatories to the treaty that brought into existence. It just happens to be located in Trinidad. Instead of criticism we owe a debt of gratitude.

  6. Alex Alleyne March 22, 2017 at 10:59 pm

    The main man on radio that always stand and support MEN is DAVID ELLIS. Ever so often men cut each other throats over women. I am one who strongly believe “that alongside every successful MAN there is a WOMAN”. Gone are those days that “behind every successful MAN there is a WOMAN.Both sexes must be seen as EQUALS.

  7. Helicopter(8P) March 23, 2017 at 11:34 am

    Equality and balance! That’s the key to a good domestic life!

  8. Tony Waterman March 24, 2017 at 1:24 am

    @jrsmith!!!!! and the Privy Council was a WHITE British Court, which did NOT really offer Justice as a lot of the People Concerned were NEVER abele to get to The UK to be witnesses, in cases that affected them.
    We had to get our own Court of Fuinal Appeal anyway, as the Lord President of the Council had PUBLICLY Stated that we should get our own Final Court of Appeal because the had not enough time to deal with our Cases, due to their work load, so <R JrSmith, what would you have suggested we do, go to them on Bended Knees and BEG them to reconsider ??? i read your Comments, and i thought that you had more PRIDE than that.

    @Aneta!!!! You are Grossly Misinformed, This is NOT a Trinidadian Court, it is simply BASED in Trinidad, it serves ALL, yes ALL Countries of Caricom, and the Bench is POPULATED bt Justices from:
    Saint Kitts and Nevis: Rt Hon. Sir Dennis Byron 2011–
    Trinidad and Tobago:Hon. Rolston Nelson 2005–
    Saint Vincent and the Grenadines:Hon. Adrian Saunders 2005–
    United Kingdom:Hon. David Hayton 2005–
    Netherlands Antilles Hon. Jacob Wit 2005–
    Jamaica:Hon. Winston Charles Anderson 2010–
    Trinidad and Tobago:Hon. Maureen Rajnauth-Lee 2015–

    I am APPALED about the Level of Ignorance about the CCJ. PEOPLES!!!!! It is NOT a TRINIDADIAN COURT, it is a REGIONAL COURT Located in one of the REGIONAL COUNTRIES Trinidad and Tobago, as stated above the Present 7 Judges come from varying Islands and the UK.

    Are all those who have this hatred for T&T prefer to go t0 where we are NOT wanted???(I AM BAJAN)

  9. N.S. January 4, 2018 at 4:29 pm

    I know of a bajan who did every and anything to destroy his ex.wife after divorce and this is not the first time. He did the same cheap shot with his other ex-wife including using the child to even try discredit the mother. He cries wolf and after years of being dumped still crying wolf and now he has his families support in self destructing. There are many sick individuals out there you will be surprised. Yes! Trinidad court is a Regional Court and the judges are from various countries but the best Judge of all is God Almighty


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