Registrar of the High Court Janine Harris-Lake
By Andre Huie
BASSETERRE, St Kitts (WINN) -- The high court in St Kitts on Tuesday morning heard the matter pertaining to registrar of the high court Janine Harris-Lake versus the permanent secretary in the ministry of justice and legal affairs and the attorney general.
Harris-Lake was on September 17 this year
asked by the Attorney General’s Chambers to bring all outstanding legal matters under her purview to the attention of the minister of justice and to proceed on 64 days accrued leave from Friday September 20 to December 17, 2013.
Harris-Lake was granted leave to apply for judicial review on November 18, 2013, of the decision by the permanent secretary Ryllis Vasquez to ask her to use accumulated vacation leave, which according to Harris-Lake had an ulterior motive. It was revealed in court on Tuesday that the government side had filed an application to strike out paragraphs of Harris-Lake’s affidavit, which they claim is scandalous.
The main thrust of Harris-Lakes’ claims is that, as registrar, though appointed by the state, she is responsible to the chief justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and, as such, in performing her duties, is not subjected to the direction or control of any other authority other than the chief justice or officer of the Supreme Court.
Harris-Lake, represented by Terrence Byron and Talibah Byron, has seven days to respond to the concerns in the strike out application from the respondents. The government side has until January 20 to any file written responses and submissions to the main matter on which the judge will make a decision and a date set for the commencement of the hearing. The attorney general and permanent secretary are represented by Solicitor General Simmone Bullen Thompson and Crown Counsel Nisharma Rattan-Mack.
It was also revealed in court on Tuesday that a gag order had been in place, which expired Tuesday at the inter-party hearing. This explains why parties declined to speak to the matter on record when the news first broke in September.
Republished with permission of West Indies News Network