Levers case goes to Privy Council

Governor Stuart Jack will refer allegations of misbehaviour by Grand Court judge Priya Levers to Britain’s highest court, the Privy Council.

Mrs. Levers

Mrs. Levers as she prepared to give evidence at the tribunal in May.

Acting on advice from a Tribunal of Inquiry which in May heard evidence regarding the allegations against Mrs. Levers, the governor has requested that the Queen refer the case to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

‘According to the Governor’s Office staff, Mr. Jack will sign the letter next week asking Her Majesty to refer the case, and the request is expected to arrive in London within two weeks,’ a statement released by the Government Information Service on Thursday stated.

According to the statement, the Privy Council will advise on the matter ‘in due course’. In the meantime, Mrs. Levers, remains on suspension with full salary.

The tribunal, presided over by Sir Andrew Leggett, advised the governor to refer the matter to the Privy Council when it submitted its report on the hearing to him on Monday last week.

The contents of the report have not been released.

‘Because the case is ongoing and will be referred to the Privy Council, the governor is not at liberty to release the report,’ the statement said. ‘Once the Privy Council has made its ruling, a decision will be taken concerning the report’s release to the public.’

The remit of the Tribunal of Inquiry, which heard from several witnesses from within the judicial system between 7 and 18 May, was to consider whether Mrs. Levers’ behaviour toward other court staff, judges, attorneys and witnesses warranted her removal from office.

Among the accusations levelled against her was that she was responsible for letters that ran in the Cayman Net News, written under a pseudonym, that were critical of the judiciary. In the course of the hearing, Timothy Otty QC, acting on behalf of the tribunal, accepted that there was not enough evidence to back up those claims.

The judge was also accused of criticising the Chief Justice Anthony Smellie and other judges, and of several examples of inappropriate courtroom behaviour and comments.

Mrs. Levers was the last witness to give evidence in the tribunal, which featured oral and written evidence from witnesses, including the chief justice, Chief Magistrate Margaret Ramsey-Hale and several court staff and litigants.

Under the constitution, the governor must appoint a tribunal of inquiry to advise him on whether he should request the removal of a Grand Court judge to be referred by the Queen to the Privy Council.

Mr. Jack announced the establishment of the tribunal on 16 September last year. At that point, Mrs. Levers was placed on suspension.

The Tribunal’s members completed the report on 12 August in London, and the report was received by the Governor five days later.