26 Jul 2019

Response to Dr Emir Crowne

In response to Dr Emir Crowne’s letter in the Daily Express [25/07/19], Dr Crown seems to be trading on his PhD in the common fallacy of ‘appeal to authority’, rather than display any critical thinking and analysing the law, and the particulars of Dr Rowley’s situation. Let me dissect what he says:

He claims there’s nothing new in the Law Association’s report that was not already in the public domain. It matters not. What is in the public domain required an investigation to ascertain its veracity. Don’t forget that the Court of Appeal, as noted by the Privy Council, clearly stated that the Chief Justice’s behaviour and action:

“had such a negative impact on the Office of the Chief Justice and the Judiciary that they threatened to undermine the administration of justice and rule of law”.

That alone would warrant an independent investigation.

Dr Crowne goes on to say that the findings relied on hearsay. That is his opinion. An independent investigation would have called witnesses to either confirm or deny what was said and done, collect evidence and present findings supported by such evidence. Without an independent investigation we (the public) are denied knowing what is true and what is not. What is sure is that the CJ has admitted using his office to influence the dispensation of homes to ‘a few needy people’, causing them to jump ahead of others several hundred times over according to what is in the public domain. That is a prima facie case of misbehaviour in public office. That alone too warrants an investigation.

Dr Crowne then further compounded his error saying that if the court orders the Prime Minister to refer the matter to the President it would be an ‘unusual and twisted intrusion’ into the separation of powers. Nothing could be further from the truth. Courts order retractions of administrative decisions all the time; it prevents the arbitrary use of state power. The separation of powers also includes checks and balances to prevent abuse. The fact that section 137 of the Constitution exists is proof enough that it was envisioned that there might be ‘allegations of misconduct levied against a sitting Chief Justice’, and a process put in place to deal with it. The framers of the Constitution were no dummies.

The same short shrift can be given to his argument that a tribunal appointed by the president would be an intrusion into judicial independence. One cannot have an “independent” judiciary doing whatever it desires. There must be accountability. Otherwise the judiciary will be a law unto itself!

His argument that one would have to demonstrate that the PM’s decision was exercised unreasonably falls short. To demonstrate that the PM’s decision falls short of considering all factors is no great hardship – I can think of six reasons rooted in law off the top of my head why the PM can and should be judicially reviewed.

Don’t forget that the PM is potentially complicit in the CJ’s matters, and cannot be a judge in his own cause. Dr Crowne deliberately avoided this issue.

And finally, Dr Crowne hints at ‘hidden agendas’, repeating the soundbite of the PM. No evidence exists of any hidden agendas besides Dr Rowley’s paranoia. In any event, an independent investigation can explore this as well. Soundbites without substance is mere politics.

Clearly, Dr Crowne should stick to sports law. Administrative law and particularly judicial review seem to lie outside of his area of expertise.