Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Tobago lawyers welcome prison litigation probe

The Tobago Lawyers Association (TLA) has said it is concerned with the issues raised by former Solicitor General Eleanor Donaldson-Honeywell with regard to litigation commenced by prisoners against the State.

The TLA said it was also worried about the negative implications such issues pose to members of the legal profession.

On August 30, Donaldson-Honeywell bypassed line Minister Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and wrote to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar suggesting that 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”.

Last week, Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard disclosed that he directed acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams to “commence forthwith” a criminal investigation into “prison litigation matters” and “the prospect of criminal wrongdoing”.

Gaspard said he had received from the Registrar of the Supreme Court the decision of Master Patricia Sobion-Awai in the matter of Jamal Sambury versus the Attorney General and the transcript of the hearing of the Procedural Appeal. He said there was enough material to support an investigation.

Following a meeting of its executive last Friday, the TLA issued a statement signed by its vice-president Dawn Palackdharry Singh.

“These issues are currently engaging the attention of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Disciplinary Committee of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago. The Association has all confidence that a fair and thorough investigation will be conducted with urgency,” it said.

Cognizant that statements could inadvertently prejudice the outcome of either process, the TLA said it awaits the outcome of the investigative process.

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