(CMR) Former Senior Customs Officer, Crystal McField-Baldwin, is suing The Civil Service Appeals Commission for not allowing her lawyers to be present during an appeal hearing.
McField-Baldwin was originally suspended in September 2017 and eventually dismissed from her position as Senior Customs Officer for gross misconduct in May 2018 by the Collector of Customs. The termination followed an internal investigation in respect of an incident on September 22, 2017.
A client, Mr. Brian Welcome, alleged that McField-Baldwin was involved in some corruption. She was presented with statements and CCTV footage collected during the investigation and provided an opportunity to respond in April 2018 – after being informed that dismissal was being considered. She provided a witness statement and written submissions in defense of the allegations.
The dismissal letter included 7 reasons why the applicant was dismissed, including that she would have attacked the customer if her colleagues did not intervene. It noted that her conduct brought the department, ministry and civil service into disrepute and her conduct was unbecoming.
She appealed the dismissal to the Chief Officer pursuant to section 53(2) of The Public Service Management Law (2018 Revision) (PSLM) in May 2018. Her appeal included claiming the conduct was not to be categorized as serious or gross. She further stated she received no training on how to handle aggressive customers and her supervisors did not intervene when she became emotional at the time of the incident. She also alleged bias.
The case now alleges that the Chief Officer had previously sanctioned the dismissal in breach of the PSML and therefore delegated the appeal to his deputy. However, in January 2019, it was decided that a request for a hearing. However, The Civil Service Appeals Commission did find that the Chief Officer acted contrary to Part VII of the PSML and granted her 50% of her costs of the appeal.
There are 2 grounds for this current appeal.
1. They are now arguing at the decision to not allow the applicant to be represented by an attorney was wrong in law, and there was no discretion to not allow it pursuant to section 61(5) of the PSML.
2. Contrary to section 19 of the Constitution, the respondent failed to give any adequate reasons for upholding the decision of the Collector, and this was irrational and unreasonable. It further alleges that the respondent was required to address and scrutinize the appeal to the Chief Officer with attention to each specific rebuttal.
McField-Baldwin seeks a decision of the Grand Court to have the decision of The Civil Service Appeals Commission quashed and to be reinstated.
McField-Balwin also sued the man who originally complained against her.