DPP clears Anna
No criminal wrongdoing in purchase of Range Rover
Sheila Rampersad Special to the Express
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard earlier this year cleared deputy political leader of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) Anna Deonarine of criminal wrongdoing in relation to the purchase of a luxury Range Rover vehicle that was reported stolen in the United Kingdom.
The disclosure has come following the conclusion of a three-day investigation conducted by the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) into possible misconduct on the part of the police regarding the leak of the relevant police file.
In response to queries from the Express yesterday, PCA director Gillian Lucky said the PCA initiated an investigation “having looked at the press and electronic media and political platforms where it appeared that confidential information and information specific to an investigation dealing with a Range Rover vehicle was being made the subject of public ridicule and comment and analysis”.
The luxury Range Rover vehicle was the subject of two newspaper stories on Sunday.
Since Sunday night, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and United National Congress (UNC) candidate for St Joseph, television talk-show host Ian Alleyne, have been referring to the police investigation into Deonarine’s Range Rover saying the vehicle was stolen in the UK and suggesting impropriety on the part of Deonarine.
The Range Rover disclosures were the opening salvo in a number of subsequent attacks on the business transactions by Deonarine.
“The PCA’s concern was whether a police file containing information specific to particular investigation got into the hands of civilians and if it did how did that happen,” Lucky explained yesterday.
Lucky said the PCA wrote acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams on October 14 “making reference to the fact that over the weekend the media was reporting on what appeared to be a police file.
“The PCA requested as a matter of urgency to be provided with a copy of the police file in order to determine whether what was being placed in the public domain was coming from documents that only could have as their origin this police investigation.
“I received today from the acting CoP official correspondence stating that there was in fact a police file dealing with this investigation, that the file was conveyed to the office of the DPP as occurs these complex matters—because fraud cases have built-in complexities—and that the DPP determined there was no criminal culpability. As a result, the file was returned to the police.”
Lucky said police then sought advice from the Solicitor General’s office and the file was given to a particular state attorney in the office of the Solicitor General on May 1, 2013. The file was sent to the Solicitor General’s office for legal advice on what was to be done with the Range Rover.
Lucky said the acting CoP also indicated in his correspondence to the PCA there were no duplicate copies of the file in the possession of the police.
“All those who are saying and insinuating that there was some level of criminal culpability—and I am not aware of any fresh evidence in the case—to have persons suggesting or insinuating, deliberately or inadvertently that there is or was criminal culpability is unfair and there must be fairness at the end of the day,” said Lucky.
Lucky said the PCA could not determine the origin of the information made public but she added the PCA was duty bound to step forward and say that it appears the police were not responsible for leaking a confidential police file.
When the Express contacted Williams for comment yesterday, the top cop said he will not be commenting on anything during the election.
“I have no comment. You see when election is done, I will have plenty comments, because everything is politics right now. I do not want to be the centre of political issues, so I’m making no comment on that or any issues.”
Pressed on whether he was concerned that such a confidential file pertaining to a police investigation was being displayed on a political platform, Williams again said he would not comment.
Asked whether he saw the actions on the platform as being unjust, since Deonarine was cleared of any wrongdoing in the Range Rover investigation, Williams again declined to comment.
“I am doing my job; everything in my portfolio, I am doing that. I am fulfilling all my obligations in the T&T Police Service. I will not comment on anything until after the 21st,” Williams said.
—with reporting by Denyse Renne