The legal team representing suspended Chief Magistrate Joanne
Walsh has failed in its efforts to have the High Court institute an
injunction against the actions of the Judicial and Legal Services
The ruling, which her attorneys had hoped would go in Walsh’s
favour and alter the course of her current battle, was handed down
on Monday morning, September 4.
Not only was Walsh’s application for injunctive relief rejected, but
her claim that her constitutional rights had been breached by the
Commission was also dismissed.
Last week, her attorneys had argued a motion that her suspension
violates the Constitution of Antigua and Barbuda.
They told the Court that the Commission – an arm of the regional
judicial system – lacks the authority to suspend the chief magistrate,
since only the Governor-General, acting on the Commission’s advice,
has that power.
During the three-hour long arguments, Walsh’s attorneys cited, as a
precedent, a case that involved former Commissioner of Police
In July, Walsh was placed on suspension after the Commission
leveled 10 disciplinary charges against her, prompting the
convening of a tribunal.
However, as she awaited its commencement, the Browne
Administration reportedly moved to advertise the position of chief
magistrate – without waiting for the conclusion of the matter.
A source says it appears that government officials already know
how the tribunal will rule, and so they are fast-tracking the process.
The tribunal reportedly got underway at 9:30 a.m. on Monday
morning, an hour after the High Court decision was delivered.