Grant-Bethell’s promotion called’irrational’
The Judicial and Legal Services Commission(JLSC)made an”irrational”decision to promote Cheryl Grant-Bethell after receiving information from the Security Intelligence Branch that reportedly deemed her unsuitable to head the Department of Public Prosecutions, her lawyer argued yesterday.
Grant-Bethell, the deputy director of public prosecutions, is challenging the decision to pass her over for the post in a judicial review hearing. The JLSC named Grant-Bethell as deputy law reform commissioner, a position it described as a promotion and selected Jamaican Vinette Graham-Allen as head of public prosecutions.
Grant-Bethell’s attorney Wayne Munroe noted that neither the JLSC nor the Office of the Attorney General disciplined her based on the contents of the intelligence report.
The court heard there was no investigation to determine the truth of the allegations and neither was Grant-Bethell afforded the opportunity to defend her name.
Munroe told Senior Justice Jon Isaacs,”If one accepts what they say about this report, it would be irrational to make the decision they did.”
Munroe pointed out that the promotion exercise was fraught with procedural irregularities as the JLSC did not advertise a vacancy for the post of deputy law reform commissioner and neither did Grant-Bethell seek the position.
He said,”There was no compliance with what the regulations say must be done.”
Grant-Bethell’s legal team has also described the JLSC’s failure to keep records of its meetings as a”blatant disregard for the rule of law.”
Thomas Evans QC, who represents the JLSC, conceded that the commission failed to keep minutes of its deliberations as mandated by the regulations. However, he submitted that there was no penalty for a failure to comply with the rules.
Isaacs noted that because no records were kept as mandated by the rules, it is not known what happened during the commission’s deliberations.
Addressing the intelligence report on Grant-Bethell, Evans said that the DPP is at the frontline of the prosecutions department and one would expect a person in that position to be above suspicion like Caesar’s wife. He said,”Otherwise, there is going to be a lack of confidence in the seriousness of the government to address the crime situation.”
When told of plans to move her from prosecutions to the Law Reform Commission, Grant-Bethell questioned the rationale behind moving a prosecutor with 20 years’experience given the high number of serious crimes.
To this Evans said,”The general has to decide which of his men is best to put on the frontline.”
He noted that managerial and people skills were also necessary qualities of a DPP. Evans said Grant-Bethell’s criminal experience would be valuable in making amendments to the statutes.
He said concerns about Grant-Bethell’s suitability for DPP would not necessarily affect her suitability to become deputy law reform commissioner.