Skip to main content

Case details

Public Service Commission (Respondent) v Richards (Appellant) (Trinidad & Tobago)

Case ID: JCPC 2020/0037

Jurisdiction: Court of Appeal of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

Case summary

Issue

(1) Whether the Respondent’s decision to suspend the Appellant was unfair; (2) Whether there was a duty on the Respondent to hear from the Appellant or consider the Appellant’s representations before suspending him; and (3) Whether the High Court was entitled to enquire into the criteria and basis for the Respondent’s decision.

Facts

The Appellant was a prison officer regulated by the Respondent. He reported that in March 2016 he had secured his firearm, holster, and magazines (the "equipment") in a locked safe at his home before leaving for the night. When he returned the next day, he discovered the safe and its contents were missing. He then reported the theft to the police.

An investigation into the Appellant’s conduct commenced, pursuant to the Public Service Commission Regulations, to consider allegations that he had failed to: (a) adequately secure; and (b) account for, the equipment. The Appellant made representations himself and via his attorney. In August 2016, the Respondent considered the allegations (absent the Appellant’s representations) and decided to suspend the Appellant from duty.

The Appellant brought proceedings in the High Court, seeking judicial review of the Respondent’s decision. In November 2017, Rahim J found that, amongst other things, it was unfair of the Respondent not to have taken account of the Appellant’s representations prior to suspending him. He therefore quashed the decision. The Respondent appealed. Before the appeal was heard, the Respondent notified the Appellant that it would not be proceeding with any charges against him and lifted his suspension. In 2019, the Court of Appeal allowed the Respondent’s appeal. The Appellant now seeks to appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

Parties

Appellant(s)

Ceron Richards

Respondent(s)

Public Service Commission

Appeal

Justices

Lord Briggs, Lady Arden, Lord Sales, Lord Leggatt, Lady Rose

Hearing start date

25 November 2021

Hearing finish date

25 November 2021