Apr 18, 2018 News
The Appeal Court has affirmed that former Policeman, Lloyd Lyte, was not wrongfully dismissed from the Guyana Police Force (GPF).
In their decision, the full bench of the Court of Appeal yesterday upheld a ruling by former Chief Justice Ian Chang that Lyte did not properly seek permission to stay away from duty.
The former policeman was deemed illegally withdrawn from the GPF in September 2010. He had however moved to the Courts to challenge the dismissal.
Through his attorney, Patrice Henry, the ex-policeman questioned the Force‘s authority to dismiss him, based on claims that he failed to properly obtain leave of absence. Claiming a contravention of his rights, the applicant sought exemplary and aggravated damages.
In the initial challenge before the High Court, Lyte had outlined that he was informed of his dismissal from the Force on September 6, 2010, by way of a letter bearing the seal of the Commissioner of Police.
He indicated that his career in the GPF started in March 26, 1990 and concluded on September 6, 2010, by way of a dismissal letter.
Lyte disclosed that he had been employed as a Corporal of the GPF until July 19 of that year. Up until that date, he was the Corporal in Charge of Ituni Police station.
Before proceeding on leave, Lyte said that he had informed a constable at Ituni Station that he was unwell and would be absent from duty.
He said too that he obtained a medical certificate that allowed for seven days sick leave. He said that he then left the Ituni Police Station for his residence in Sparendaam.
In her arguments on behalf of the Commissioner of Police, Lawyer for the Attorney General Chambers, Judy Stuart-Adonis noted in accordance with the Police Force’s Standing Orders that Lyte was wrong to merely notify a junior rank about his leave.
Stuart-Adonis stressed that Lyte needed to have contacted the officer in Charge of his Sub-division and informed that individual of his intention.
The State Attorney pointed to the evidence of a senior rank of the Police Force, that Lyte had casually informed him that he was unwell and needed leave, but “there was never any formal report by officer Lyte to that effect.”
According to Stuart–Adonis, Officer Lyte‘s actions would have resulted in ramifications based on the Force‘s Standing Orders. While Lyte’s attorney maintained that his client has a medical certificate to substantiate the need for the leave, Stuart–Adonis countered that even after the seven days that he was permitted by the medical for sick leave, Lyte continued to stay away from his job.
She emphasized that he failed to report for duty even after the seven days expired.
However, Henry was adamant that his client should not have been deemed illegally withdrawn from the Force in light of the medical certificate. He said too that Lyte would have at some point informed the officer in charge of the East Ruimveldt Police Station of his absence.
Stuart-Adonis contended, nonetheless, that Lyte should have informed the officer in his division at the Linden Police Station, under whose purview the Ituni Police Station directly falls.
She further asserted that what Lyte did was irresponsible, pointing out that as the officer-in–charge, he had the keys to the arms and ammunition cabinet among important duties.
She contended that these responsibilities should have been properly handed over.
The State Attorney noted that in the High Court, then Chief Justice (Ag) Chang had dismissed Lyte’s application and ruled that he failed to properly obtain permission to stay away from work. The Court had outlined that the medical certificate obtained by Lyte only covered seven days.
In their ruling yesterday, Justices of Appeal Arif Bulkan, Yonette Cummings–Edwards and Rafiq Khan affirmed the decision of the High Court that Lyte did not have permission and that he was away from his duty without lawful excuse, alluding inter alia to provisions in Section 37(A) of the Police Act, which stipulate that there should be written permission for leave of absence from the Court. The Judges therefore upheld the decision that the former policeman had not been wrongfully dismissed.
The Court of Appeal also found Lyte’s actions to be “mischievous” and ordered both parties to bear their own cost in the matter.
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