Embattled former Commissioner of Police, Willan Thompson has lost his court battle against the Keith Mitchell-led government in relation to his transfer from the post of Chief of Police to Clerk of Parliament.
The Court of Appeal, which sat in the country last week, has ruled in favour of the State on Thompson’s transfer, which was done without his consent shortly after the New National Party (NNP) won the 2013 general elections.
The ruling was handed down last week Monday at High Court No. 1 in St. George’s by the Justice of Appeal of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, Chief Justice Janice Pereira, Justice Michel Mario and Paul Webster QC.
Following the 2013 general elections, Thompson, along with Assistant Commissioners of Police, Smith Roberts and Dowlin Bartholomew were transferred from the Police Force by Governor General, Dame Cecile La Grenade and the Public Service Commission (PSC).
The incoming Prime Minister had indicated that he had no confidence in Thompson as the island’s chief security officer in the public service.
The Police commissioner retained the services of former Attorney General, Rohan Phillip to challenge the decision.
Thompson was contending that pursuant to Section 89 of the Constitution, as a senior police officer, he could not be transferred either by the Governor General or by the PSC to a post outside RGPF
without his consent or the permission of the Public Service.
However, the State took the position that commissioned officers above the rank of Sergeant are liable to be transferred.
High Court judge, Justice Gerhard Wallbank ruled in favour of the State in January 2015 and Thompson appealed the decision.
In commenting on the ruling to THE NEW TODAY newspaper, Solicitor General, Dwight Horsford, noted that “it was his (Thompson’s) case in the High Court that the Royal Grenada Police Force is a closed department of the Public Service and (that) Gazetted or Commissioned officers of the RGPF can’t be transferred to other parts of the wider civil service.
“We argued in the High Court, the High Court agreed with us, the government’s arguments (and) Justice Wallbank ruled that yes, they can be transferred to any other position in the wider civil service once they don’t lose their grade or emolument.
“He (Thompson) took this matter on appeal because he was not satisfied. We argued again as respondents in the Court of Appeal that the trial judge was right to agree with us and happily the Court of Appeal agrees with us that Commissioned or Gazetted officers in the RGPF are liable to be transferred by the Public Service Commission and in the case of the Commissioner of Police by the Governor General acting on the advice of the Public Service Commission to any office of equivalent grade or lateral rank in the public.
Horsford expressed satisfaction that the matter has finally been legally resolved.
Thompson still has an option of seeking judicial review before the Law Lord at the Privy Council in London.
The Court of Appeal usually sits in Grenada for one week three times per year.