Former Police Commissioner Gary Griffith says he intends to pursue legal redress for the undertaking of a judicial review into a report done by retired Appeal Court judge Stanley John over allegations of corruption in the issuance of Firearm Users Licenses (FULs).
John was appointed by the former Bliss Seepersad-led Police Service Commission (PolSC) to enquire into the allegations and his report was submitted to the Police Service Commission, the National Security Council and the Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds.
Dubbed, “a thriving, well-oiled, white-collar criminal enterprise,” the findings of the report are now part of ongoing investigations conducted by the T&T Police Service according to acting Police Commissioner McDonald Jacob.
In the report, John stated the efforts by Griffith to address the issues “have clearly been woefully unsuccessful.”
“His own explanation of his involvement in the process, in my opinion… was in breach of the law as set out in Section 16 of the Firearms Act. This has been a masterclass in dysfunctionalisation.”
However, in response to the report, Griffith produced a letter to Guardian Media in which John said he was not investigating Griffith.
“Retired Justice Stanley John, by letter to me dated September 18th, 2021, stated, ‘I wish to reiterate that my remit does not involve an investigation into your goodself as COP [Acting] nor to any police officer.’ Further to this, the Stanley John report was completed and submitted, according to the Sunday Express, to the Police Service Commission, and according to comments made by Minister of National Security, Fitzgerald Hinds, also submitted to the National Security Council,” Griffith said.
He added, “This statement by Minister Hinds, confirming the document was submitted to the National Security Council is both alarming and of concern, for a number of reasons.”
He explained, “I submitted the name of a Minister, who currently sits on the said National Security Council, who has been in receipt of a 5.56 firearm, and held the same for over a period of one year, without payment to the dealer.”
Griffith added, “Justice John, by submitting this report to the same National Security Council upon which the Minister sits, has essentially ‘tipped’ off persons in contravention of Section 51 of the Proceeds of Crime Act.”
He noted, “The act of submitting a report with information directly pertaining to persons sitting on the National Security Council, begs the question as to why was the report presented to the National Security Council, with full knowledge that it contained information relative to members of said body?”
He noted, “Justice John’s report highlighted a Police Constable, who made claims that he was approached by Senior Police Officers to engage in acts of corruption. This report, having made its way to the National Security Council [ which was NOT the body that initially engaged Justice John], then, finding its way onto the front pages of the Sunday Express, has now essentially threatened to place the life of said informant at risk.”
“Such a callous, calculated and odious undertaking as having a report such as this, leaked from one of two State bodies has contributed to the potential for detriment to the life and livelihood of an individual,” Griffith said.
He also questioned at what stage the remit of Justice John’s review changed?
“And under whose authority and instruction?” he added.
Considering the principle of Natural Justice has been ignored, Griffith said he was not given the “courtesy of a response, defence, nor copy of the said report, “since, according to Sunday Express, Justice John has stated that I broke the law by ‘breaching the firearms act’.”
Griffith said he now intends to pursue legal redress so that judicial review could be done into the John report.