Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 22nd 2013 Contents A 68-year-old social
activist will appear
before a Port-of-Spain
magistrate this morn-
ing charged with
attempting to influence
voters at a Maraval
polling station yester-
The activist was
arrested by police from
the Port-of-Spain CID
led by ASP Ajith Persad,
near the Boissiere Vil-
lage RC Primary School.
Shortly after 10 am
police were told the
activist was standing
outside the school with
a placard. He was
reportedly asking voters
not to support the
Party (ILP) and its
interim leader Jack
When the police
arrived, they watched
the activist for some
time, before telling him
he was committing an
He was arrested and
taken to the St Clair
Police Station, where he
was charged under Sec-
tion 91 of the Repre-
sentation of the People
The legislation says:
"During the hours that
the poll is open upon
polling day no person
shall, in any polling sta-
tion or upon any road
or in any public place
within 100 yards of any
polling station, seek to
influence any elector to
vote or to refrain from
voting for any candidate
or political party or to
ascertain for whom any
elector intends to vote
or has voted."
The offence carries a
penalty of a $7,500 fine
or up to three months
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, October 22, 2013
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for OCTOBER 21st 2013
Lawyers representing businessmen
Steve Ferguson, Ameer Edoo and three
insurance companies kicked-off their
appeal over the repeal of Section 34 of the
Administration of Justice (Indictable
Offences) Act yesterday morning.
British Queen s Counsel Edward Fitzger-
ald, who is appearing for Ferguson, began
with lengthy submissions on why the court
should reverse an earlier judgment by Justice
Mira Dean-Armorer and rule that the repeal
Fitzgerald said: "What we are dealing
with is the interference in the judicial process
by the State...My client has a general right
not to have the result of proceedings be
affected by executive action."
He said when the legislation was passed
by Parliament and proclaimed last year, his
clients were given the legitimate expectation
that they would be discharged of criminal
proceedings against them, which were ten
years old or more.
"It is substantively unfair because they
were led to believe that their proceedings
would come to an end," Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald dismissed claims that the initial
passing of the legislation by Parliament
could be considered an oversight. He said
the court should also disregard allegations
that Cabinet was misled by former Justice
Minister Herbert Volney into approving the
early proclamation of the act.
"The uncontroverted evidence in this
case is that Parliament and Cabinet knew
of the implications of Section 34.
"Parliament cannot erase the historical
fact that people were led to believe that
their prosecution was at bay," Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald also took aim at Director of
Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard,
who he claimed unfairly influenced the
repeal of the legislation.
Fitzgerald said after his client filed for
the discharge in early September, Gaspard
sought an adjournment of the Piarco Air-
port II preliminary inquiry to consider it.
He said Gaspard instigated the repeal by
contacting Attorney General Anand Ram-
logan to suggest the repeal and giving Ram-
logan advice on how it should be drafted.
Michael Beloff, QC, who is representing
the insurance companies, began his sub-
missions yesterday and said the court
should consider all the contemporaneous
documents surrounding the case and not
just the information found in the repeal
legislation and Hansard records.
Beloff will continue his submissions this
morning. The State s legal team is expected
to respond to the submissions at hearings
scheduled for tomorrow and Thursday.
Section 34 appeal
Former Martime executive Steve Ferguson, left, with his lead attoney Edward Fitzgerald
QC, right, outside the Hall of Justice in Port-of-Spain yesterday. PHOTO: BRIAN NG FATT
In their appeal, the group alleges the repeal
was contrary to the principle of separation of
powers and the rule of law and breached their
constitutional right to due process of law.
They are also claiming that the repeal was
unfair as it directly targeted them and that it is
"disproportionate and unjust" because of its
Along with several of the other applicants
under the legislation, who include businessman
Ishwar Galbaransingh and former Prime
Minister Basdeo Panday, they face fraud
charges arising out of the construction of the
$1.6 billion Piarco International Airport. The
others face unrelated criminal charges.
Eight of the applicants are before the Piarco II
preliminary inquiry, which is currently before
Magistrate Ejenny Espinet in the Port-of-Spain
Although similar legal challenges were filed
by the other applicants after the repeal in
September last year, it was agreed during a
preliminary hearing that the trio's lawsuits
would be used as a test case which would
decide the fate of the other applicants.
The Section 34 scandal
After Section 34 was proclaimed on August
31, last year, approximately 42 applicants filed
motions to have their criminal cases dismissed.
The act sought to abolish preliminary inquiries
for serious criminal matters.
It provided that if cases had not been started
within ten years of the date an offence had
been committed, the accused could apply to
have the matter dismissed.
Most of the applicants filed constitutional
motions after the legislation was repealed on
September 12 last year, rendering the unheard
applications null and void.
One of the political casualties was Justice
Minister Herbert Volney, who was blamed for
misleading Cabinet to believe the early
proclamation was sanctioned by the Chief
Justice and the Director of Public Prosecutions.
He was fired from the Cabinet and eventually
resigned from the People's Partnership, paving
the way for a by-election on November 4.
The trio's legal team included Senior Counsel
Fyard Hosein and Sophia Chote.
Lord David Pannick, QC, Solicitor General
Eleanor Donaldson-Honeywell, SC, and attorney
Gerald Ramdeen are representing the State.
The DPP is being represented by attorney Ian
Lawyer: State interfered
in judicial process
Activist arrested outside polling station
Senior Supt Stephen
Pustam, Insp Powder
and Cpl McCain were
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