Legal wrangling over the Ritch report may not be over just yet for Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin, even with Chief Justice Anthony Smellie’s ruling.
Information Commissioner Jan Liebaers says he and his team are reviewing the ruling delivered last week and mulling their options to decide their way forward in the matter. The Chief Justice ruled in favour of Premier McLaughlin certifying the Ritch immigration report as legal privilege effectively keeping it under wraps. Mr Liebaers had referred the matter to the courts after the Premier’s Office refused to turn over the report although an order compelling them to was issued.
Mr Liebaers says it’s the first time such a ruling has been issued on a section 45 application under the freedom of information law.
“Section 48 is intended as an enforcement, I believe, a enforcement mechanism for the orders if the Information Commissioner and so that is the background against which the decision of the Chief Justice needs to be read and analysed and that’s what we are doing now,” Mr Liebaers says.
He says he cannot say the ruling brings an end to the dispute over the report since he still has to give his ruling on the two FOI request before him. So Mr Liebaers says he will have to look at all available options.