Suspended top cop advances legal action

Wendel Robinson

Embattled Commissioner of police, Wendel Robinson, has filed his challenge against the actions of the Police Service Commission which suspended him pending the outcome of a yet-to-commence probe into his alleged inappropriate conduct towards three male junior officers.

Robinson took the route of filing a “without notice application” when he asked the High Court earlier this month to grant him leave to file for judicial review and on Thursday May 10, Justice Rosalyn Wilkinson granted him the application.

According to court documents which OBSERVER media obtained yesterday, Robinson also asked for the case to be treated “as urgent” and this too has been granted. He has identified the Police Service Commission as the First Respondent and the Attorney General on behalf of the state, as the Second Defendant.

May 18 is the date he was given to now formally file that application for judicial review and the first hearing date of said application is June 6.

Robinson, who has been serving as Commissioner of Police since 2015, was suspended on April 5 and informed on that date by way of letter from the PSC. He also suffered a 50 percent cut in pay which was to remain in effect at least until the outcome of a probe. To date, there was been no word from the Commission regarding who will conduct the probe and the terms of said probe.

From the onset, Robinson, through his lawyer Sir Richard Cheltenham, argued that the actions of the Commission were unlawful and on April 13, he wrote to the body, threatening legal action if the suspension was not lifted on or before April 20. The Commission responded, rejecting his demands and up to earlier this week, the Commission’s lawyer, Dr. David Dorsett, had admittedly not received any response from the top cop and Sir Richard. Dr. Dorsett had also told OBSERVER media he had not been served with any court papers reflecting a lawsuit. Robinson’s “without notice” application dated May 1, explains why Dr. Dorsett and the PSC were unaware of Robinson’s application up to Monday May 7.

Top cop Robinson, who is also a lawyer and experienced prosecutor, has since been temporarily replaced by his colleague Atlee Rodney who has been acting police chief from the day of Robinson’s suspension.

Earlier this year, the scandal broke of Robinson’s alleged inappropriate conduct towards three junior ranking male colleagues who put their complaints in writing to the PSC.

The written complaints, on official police statement forms, found their way to the media and both Prime Minister Gaston Browne and Attorney General Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin admitted they had knowledge of one, not three complaints, but they dismissed it as somewhat frivolous saying anyone can make such a report. Sources close to the matter later accused them of attempting political interference in the matter, and blamed the delay of action on them.

Although admitting to meeting with the PSC to discuss the matter, the two officials have repeatedly said that they have kept their hands off the matter from the onset, leaving it up to the PSC, which deals with disciplinary matters of officers from the rank of Inspector and above.