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Estonian sentenced five years after
confessing to drug trafficking
A travesty of justice
says High Court judge
A travesty of justice.
These were the words used by
High Court Judge Gillian Lucky to de-
scribe a case in which a 25-year-old
man from Estonia, whose sentenc-
ing for a cocaine trafficking conspir-
acy took place over five years after
he confessed to the crime.
Vaido Villem eventually received
a four-year sentence from Lucky,
meaning the delay caused him to
spend an additional year in prison.
Lucky only stumbled upon Vil-
lem’s case in January after his law-
yers Ravi Rajcoomar and Indarjit
Seuraj applied for bail for him as he
spent five years in remand waiting
on his indictment to be filed after his
preliminary inquiry was completed
in June 2014.
Describing her intervention as
“creative legitimate management”
Lucky helped to facilitate the fil-
ing of the indictment and Villem’s
“I am not attacking anyone but
something went wrong...I am look-
ing out for persons that demand
justice,” Lucky said.
In deciding on a sentence for Vil-
lem, Lucky questioned why he was
charged indictably (case to be heard
before a judge and jury) while his
fellow countryman, who was ar-
rested alongside him, was charged
summarily (case to be heard by a
Villem’s friend was allowed to
plead guilty and was given a four-
year sentence. He has already
served the sentence and has been
deported back to northern Euro-
Describing the difference as ab-
surd, Lucky pointed out that Vil-
lem’s friend had ingested a quantity
of cocaine pellets before their ar-
rest, while Villem refused to ingest
the pellets and assisted police in a
sting operation to capture the mas-
termind behind the smuggling op-
Lucky noted that Villem’s friend
was kept in custody and deported
eight months after he completed his
sentence. She adjourned the case to
next Wednesday to help facilitate his
deportation, which is not expected
to be delayed as his family has al-
ready purchased his return ticket
As part of her ruling, Lucky sug-
gested that measures and policies be
instituted by the Judiciary to allow
for more efficient case management
of criminal cases to prevent similar
instances in the future.
She suggested that a registry
be established in the Magistrates’
Court, which would monitor and
ensure that the filing of indictments
are fast tracked in cases where ac-
cused persons wish to plead guilty
to indictable offences during their
inquiries before a magistrate.
She said that the DPP’s office
should devise a system to monitor
the indictments and suggested that
guilty plea court should be estab-
lished to fast track the cases.
“The aim is to ensure that the
matters do not fall through the
cracks and that matters are dealt
with expeditiously,” Lucky said.
She also suggested that the Com-
missioner of Prisons could compile
a list of inmates who wished to
plead guilty, which would allow for
the swifter filing of their indictments
to accept early guilty pleas.
The case was prosecuted by
Surgeon at John E Sabga Oncology Exchange:
No endoscopic ultrasound
in T&T to detect early
There is no endoscopic ultrasound
available in this country, a key tool
in detecting early stages of pancre-
Pancreatic cancer is among the
top ten deadly cancers in this coun-
Making the call for more ad-
vanced tools to be available was
Dr Ravi Maharaj, consultant sur-
geon at the Eric Williams Medical
Sciences Complex, Mt Hope
Maharaj was speaking at the John
E Sabga Oncology Exchange Pan-
creatic Cancer—The Quest For A
Cure— which was held at the Hyatt
Recency, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.
Dr Kavi Capildeo, oncologist
at the Eastern Regional Health
Authority said one approach to
improving access was to put an up-
to-date CT Scanner at the National
Radiotherapy Centre, St James.
“This would eliminate all those
delays having to scramble to get
imaging.....having a separate fa-
cility for imaging and also having
interventional radiology available
in order to achieve things like biop-
sies for diagnosis “ Capildeo said.
Sabga, a businessman died of
pancreatic cancer last year.
His wife of 29 years Natalie
has established a foundation in
his name to find a cure for the
She urged for clinical work to be
carried out in T&T which would
chart the course in the right direc-
“I can’t bring my husband back
but what we want to do is save the
future generations and we have to
create hope because with pancre-
atic cancer there is so little hope.
“But it’s through clinical trials,
education and advocacy this can
be done but we also need funding,”
Professor Daniel Von Hoff,
physician-in-chief of the Transla-
tional Genomics Research Insti-
tute (TGen) who was the feature
speaker, is on a four-day visit to
T&T during which he would tour
treatment centres and meet doc-
tors in the cancer field.
Through his clinical work, this
has led to the approval of three
of the four drugs approved by the
FDA for treatment of patients with
advanced pancreatic cancer.
Natalie said the John E Sabga
Clinical trial will be one of six clin-
ical trials in TGen’s final assault
initiative and it will be conducted
at Honour Health, Scottsdale, Ar-
izona joining a cadre of highly re-
garded clinical partners who are
ready to join the fight such as MD
Anderson, Mayo Clinic, City of
Hope and Baylor Sammons Cancer
Von Hoff who said pancreatic
cancer was tough to high but col-
laborative work was vital.
“The only thing we can do is get
Chairman of the John E Sabga Foundation For Pancreatic Cancer, Peter George, left, Professor Dilip Dan, Natalie Sabga,
Professor Daniel Von Hoff, Kathy Mask-Nurse and Michael Bassoff, president TGen Foundation, interact after the
foundation’s Cancer—The Quest for A Cure at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.
PICTURE ANISTO ALVES
in together to fight against the dis-
ease,” Von Hoff said.
There will be a gala dinner at the
Hyatt Recency tonight called the
Hope Gala which Natalie said was
not only in honour of John but also
cancer victims across the country.
(See page Page A19)
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