Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Al-Rawi: Cops should investigate, not AG

THE investigation which Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has been instructed to conduct by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar may constitute an abuse of process as well a perversion of the course of justice, which are criminal offences.

As such, the matters cannot be investigated by Ramlogan’s office, but only by the police.

This is the position of public relations officer of the People’s National Movement (PNM) Senator Faris Al-Rawi, who spoke at the PNM’s executive election campaign meeting of contender Dr Keith Rowley and his slate in San Fernando on Thursday.

Al-Rawi said the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago, in a statement issued on Wednesday, also calling for an independent investigation into the issues raised by former solicitor general Eleanor Donaldson-Honeywell, and on the ruling of Master of the Court 

Patricia Sobion-Awai, who in a February 4 ruling found that huge portions of a prisoner’s witness statement reflected that of previous successful litigants. Sobion-Awai called for an investigation into the “cut-and-paste” statement.

On August 30, 2013, then solicitor general Donaldson-Honeywell bypassed line minister Ramlogan and wrote to Persad-Bissessar, suggesting a three-pronged  investigation by the Inspector of Prisons, the Law Association and the Police Service be undertaken to determine whether attorneys involved in prison litigation are engaged in an “unethical business venture” which “may amount inter alia to breaches of professional ethics by the attorneys involved and may have the effect  of perverting the course of justice in litigation against the State”. 

Persad-Bissessar said on Tuesday that she had forwarded the letter to Ramlogan to address to contents, and has advised him to meet with the acting Solicitor General, the Commissioner of Prisons, the Minister of Justice and the Chief State Solicitor to address concerns raised. 

Al-Rawi said: “A perversion of the course of justice is a crime in T&T. A crime in T&T cannot be investigated by the Attorney General. A crime in T&T must be investigated by the police and so AG Anand Ramlogan and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, both recipients of silk, the highest award an attorney can hope to receive, given to themselves by themselves, in recommending that the police come and probe me for my parliament privilege in identifying the existence of a PCA report, ought to know in the respect of crime for the perversion of the course of justice that the AG cannot conduct an investigation into a crime and that it is the police to investigate and report to Director of Public Prosecutions to deal with the issue.”

Al-Rawi said the attorneys defending the State in the assault cases brought by prisoners Jamal Sambury and Jamal Fortune had represented the Attorney General in private litigation brought against Rowley. 

 “And the Attorney?General says no conflict of interest but the Master of the Court says I find that there has been a cut and paste from the Fortune case directly into the Sambury case.”  

Al-Rawi said the same attorneys also appeared in the assault case filed by prisoner Rodney Samaroo.

“In the Fortune case and Sambury case, the similarities are six out of ten, in the Samaroo case the similarities are probably eight out of ten,” said Al-Rawi. —See Page 6