Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard will on Thursday file submissions to become a party in the cases of several fraud accused who are challenging the repeal of Section 34 of the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act.
During a High Court appearance yesterday, attorney Ian Benjamin told Justice Mira Dean-Armorer that his client, the DPP, would like to join the constitutional motion challenging the repeal of Section 34.
The Section was repealed by Parliament on September 12 after becoming law on August 30.
Former Justice minister Herbert Volney was fired by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar for misleading the Cabinet on the early proclamation, which was seen as a move to enable UNC financiers Ish Galbaransingh, Steve Ferguson and others to walk free on fraud charges arising out of the Piarco Airport construction project.
Senior Counsel Fyard Hosein is representing John Henry Smith, who filed under Section 34 to have his matter dropped.
The Section had provided for anyone who is alleged to have committed an offence ten or more years ago and the matter had not yet come to trial to be freed.
Hosein said he had no objection at the time to the DPP joining the matter, but may change his position depending on the submissions filed.
Hosein added that the Office of the Attorney General was currently being represented in the constitutional motion.
Apart from the challenge to the constitutional legality of the repeal, 18 other men and four companies have filed to have their matters dismissed under Section 34.
Justice Dean-Armorer told attorneys on all sides in both matters that she would be hearing the constitutional motion first. Once that is cleared the other matters will be easier to determine, she said.
The judge also asked attorneys representing Galbaransingh to submit their views on her recusing herself since she had worked at the Office of the Attorney General during Galbaransingh's court appearances and had recused herself during his extradition court battles. Dean-Armorer then adjourned both matters to November 19.
Those who filed Section 34 applications include Ferguson, Galbaransingh, former Airports Authority executive Amrith Maharaj; Maritime Life General Insurance Company Ltd executives John Henry Smith and Barbara Gomes, as well as the company itself and Maritime Finance; Galbaransingh's Northern Construction Ltd; Fidelity Finance Leasing Company Ltd; former finance minister Brian Kuei Tung; former ministers Carlos John and Russell Huggins; businessman Ameer Edoo; Tyrone Gopee; Peter Cateau; former minister Sadiq Baksh; and businesswoman Renee Pierre.
They were all charged in relation to allegations of corruption in the UNC government's $1.5 billion Piarco International Airport project between 1995 and 2001.
Some of the attorneys representing the State and the Attorney General's office in the matters are Lord David Pannick QC, Israel Khan SC, Gerald Ramdeen, Wayne Sturge and Shastri Persad.
Senior Counsel Sophia Chote, Ravi Rajcoomar, Rajiv Persad and Mickela Panday are some of the attorneys representing the accused.