by STAFF WRITER – July 12, 2022
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Jul 12, CMC – Chief Magistrate Maria Busby Earle-Caddle has adjourned to September 19 for a status report on proceedings the trial of former attorney general, Anand Ramlogan, SC, whose trial was due to have started Monday on allegations of witness tampering.
Senior Counsel Pamela Elder, told the Magistrate Court that she had made an application under section 14(4) of the Constitution that states ‘where in any proceedings in any court other than the High Court or the Court of Appeal any question arises as to the contravention of any of the provisions of this Chapter, the person presiding in that court may and shall if any party to the proceedings so requests, refer the question to the High Court unless in his opinion the raising of the question is merely frivolous or vexatious”.
Queen’s Counsel, Edward Jenkins, the lead attorney for the State, said it is clear section 14(4) was mandatory in nature and the State did not want to prejudice Ramlogan’s rights. He said it would be “appropriate and fair” to have the matter referred to the High Court for determination.
Ramlogan, who was fired as attorney general in 2015 by then prime minister Kamla Persad Bissessar had been investigated by police following a complaint by Police Complaints Authority (PCA) director, David West, that the former attorney general offered him the post in exchange for West withdrawing his witness statement in a defamation matter Ramlogan had filed against then opposition leader Dr Keith Rowley in 2014.
Ramlogan is now said to be questioning whether the law at the time gave the police the authority to gather certain evidence it intends to use in his prosecution and is alleging a breach of his rights.
In granting the application to put on hold the trial that was due to have lasted a week, Chief Magistrate Earle-Caddle said she intended to immediately refer the matter to the High Court.
“A new issue has arisen and having regard to the application by the defence and concession by the State, the court is referring the matter to the High Court<’ she said, before adjourning the matter to September 19 for a status report on proceedings in the superior court.
Ramlogan was charged in 2017 on charges of misbehaviour in public office and obstruction of justice.
He is also accused of obstructing justice by using threats and bribery to persuade West to not give evidence in his defamation case against Rowley. He is also accused of misbehaving in public office by improperly endeavouring for West not to testify on Rowley’s behalf.
The offences allegedly occurred in October 2014, while former police commissioner Gary Griffith, who is also a witness in the case, was serving as national security minister. Persad Bissessar also fired Griffith.