HOURS after Government announced on Tuesday night that Parliament would sit in a special session yesterday to repeal the controversial Section 34 of the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act 2011, at least three more individuals went to the High Court to have a judge dismiss their matters on the ground of delay.
The applications were filed yesterday by attorneys Ravi Rajcoomar and Nalini Bansee, on behalf of former CEO of the National Maintenance Training and Security (MTS) Company Ltd Montgomery Diaz, former RBTT employee Dane Lewis and police officer Carlton Roop.
Since the proclamation of Section 34 by President George Maxwell Richards on August 30, several individuals against whom charges were laid, dating back to ten years or more, have already applied to the High Court seeking an order that their indictments be dismissed and verdicts of not guilty be recorded in their favour.
Among them are several people who are accused of bid-rigging and conspiracy to defraud the Government of Trinidad and Tobago during the period March 1, 1997, to December 21, 2000. The charges arose out of the Piarco Development Project scandal.
Facing charges are business executives Ishwar Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson, former CEO of the Maritime Group John Henry Smith, former Maritime group corporate secretary Barbara Gomes, financial director of Northern Construction Ltd Amrith Maharaj, former United National Congress government ministers Brian Kuei Tung, Carlos John, Russell Huggins and Sadiq Baksh, and former chairmen of the Airports Authority Ameer Edoo.
The Express learnt that instructions were also given for applications to be filed on behalf of Tyrone Gopee, Peter Cateau and businesswoman Renee Pierre, who are also before the courts on charges arising out of the Piarco Development Project.
Diaz was arrested on July 22, 1998, and charged with false pretence with intent to defraud. The offence was allegedly committed on July 18, 1996. He says he has attended court from July 1998 to July 2010 and has never evaded the process of the court.
Diaz was committed to stand trial on July 28, 2010. He contends, however, that no indictment has yet been filed by the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Lewis was arrested and jointly charged with another person on August 4, 2000, and charged with the offences of conspiracy to defraud and forgery with intent to defraud.
The offences are alleged to have been committed during the period June 1, 2000, and July 31, 2000. He was committed to stand trial on May 3, 2005, and an indictment was filed by the DPP. Lewis says although the matter was called on several occasions, no trial has yet commenced.
Roop was arrested and charged on November 6, 2001, with obtaining credit by means of fraud and corruptly receiving.
He was convicted after trial on June 7, 2005, but appealed the matter. A re-trial was ordered, but the matter has not yet been heard. The offences are alleged to have been committed during the period December 2000 to February 2001.