Roger Gaspard

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DPP RULES OUT LEAK

...says he is focusing on content of Flying Squad reports

By Ria Taitt Political Editor

Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard yesterday expressed confidence that the leak of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) report and the Police Service report on the New Flying Squad Investigative Unit did not come from his office.

“I am sure about this—no document was leaked from my office,” said Gaspard.

The issue of the leak did not seem to be a matter receiving his attention. The DPP indicated he was concentrating on the contents of the report.

“I just want to get on with the business of examining the contents of the report,” Gaspard said. 

Questioned further on whether the integrity of the contents of the reports would be affected by the fact that the reports were leaked (from whatever source), Gaspard said he was making no further comment to the media on this issue. 

The DPP has to review the PCA and Police Service reports and all the documentation sent to him on this issue of the Flying Squad before making a determination on whether criminal action should be pursued.

Both reports have concluded that a Flying Squad operated last year, without proper authorisation. 

Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said the DPP’s remarks “that the leaks did not come from his office” confirmed his (Ramlogan’s) previous statement that the reports were not leaked “to the PNM by the Office of the DPP”.

The Attorney General asserted that “two sections of the Police Complaints Authority Act are relevant to the present controversy”:

a) Section 21: 4 which states that information and evidence obtained by the Authority in the performance of its function under this Act were confidential; b) Section 47 which outlines the penalties of a fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for five years, if a person without lawful justification or excuse disclosed confidential information. 

“It is the duty and responsibility of the Police Service to investigate criminal offence. The leak of the PCA report is a clear violation of Section 47 which gives rise to the commission of a criminal offence,” Ramlogan insisted.

The Attorney General contended that the PCA’s first public release “correctly adopted a similar position” (to the one he is currently adopting) since it expressed concern with the placing of “highly sensitive information at the public domain while deliberations are still on-going”.

He also noted that the PCA had called on People’s National Movement (PNM) Senator Faris Al Rawi to “explain the means through which he came into possession of the PCA report”.

The AG reiterated yesterday in a news release: “As Attorney General, I have a duty to protect the public interest by highlighting violations of the law so that the relevant authorities can take such action as they deem appropriate. I am satisfied that I have performed my duty and the ball is therefore now in Faris Al Rawi’s court. The Commissioner of Police and the Integrity Commission will also, no doubt, discharge their duties in accordance with the law.”

Ramlogan’s release stated further: “A failure to investigate could be interpreted as an abdication of one’s legal duty and responsibility, but that is a judgment call and a matter for the discretion of the relevant authorities.” 

However, acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams has indicated that “not every call for an investigation will require an investigation”.

Williams, on Wednesday, told the media the police had nothing to investigate in the matter involving the leak of the two reports.

On the Attorney General’s suggestion that the leak was “tantamount to treason”, Williams said: “If there is an obvious indicator of treason. I will give you the assurance that the Police Service will not even be waiting on the Attorney General to launch an investigation.”

Contacted for comment on the Attorney General’s appeal to the Integrity Commission to investigate the matter, chairman Ken Gordon indicated that the Commission was not currently in a position to consider any request for an investigation.

The Commission is not fully constituted because it does not have a qualified accountant as required by the Integrity in Public Life Act.

 
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