Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 23rd 2013 Contents A10
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, October 23, 2013
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for OCTOBER 22nd 2013
October 22, 2013
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October 22, 2013
October 22, 2013
October 22, 2013
Social activist Ishmael Samad
was released on $20,000 bail
yesterday after appearing in
court charged with attempting
to influence voters at a Maraval
polling station on Monday.
Samad, 68, of Tapti Street,
Boissiere Village, Maraval, pleaded
not guilty when he appeared
before Magistrate Cheron Raphael
in the Port-of-Spain Third
After reading the charge to
him, Raphael asked if he had
retained an attorney and Samad
said no. Raphael then told him
to retain one by his next court
hearing so she could set a date
for his trial.
Samad was charged with
attempting to influence voters at
the Boissiere Village RC Primary
School not to vote for the Inde-
pendent Liberal Party (ILP).
He was arrested in front of the
Saddle Road, Maraval, school, at
around 10.30 am on Monday and
was in possession of a placard
which refered to ILP interim
leader Jack Warner s alleged
involvement in Fifa s Haiti earth-
quake relief scandal.
Samad was charged under
Section 91 of the Representation
of the People Act, which says:
"During the hours that the poll
is open upon polling day no per-
son shall in any polling station
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 ascertain from
whom any elector intends to vote
or has voted."
If convicted, Samad faces a
penalty of a $7,500 fine or up to
three months imprisonment.
He will reappear in court on
The controversial Section 34
of the Administration of Justice
(Indictable Offences) Act was
not a fundamental principle
necessary for a fair system of
So said British Queen s Coun-
sel Lord David Pannick, who is
representing the State, as he
responded to submissions from
attorneys in the appeal of busi-
nessmen Steve Ferguson, Ameer
Edoo and three insurance com-
They want the court to render
Parliament s repeal of the leg-
islation in September, last year,
"A fair system of justice does
not require a ten-year rule, such
as Section 34," Pannick said.
He said the 47 people who
filed applications under the act
before its eventual repeal were
seeking "special treatment"
other than what is normally
afforded other accused in crim-
"Their complaint is that they
were denied special treatment
and not that they were given
special treatment," he added.
Pannick said it was his view
that the repeal of the legislation
was acceptable and was within
Parliament s purview.
"Parliament was entitled to
consider that there is a very
strong public interest to not
allow a defendant to escape trial
simply because ten years have
elapsed," Pannick said.
He said the repeal could not
be considered unconstitutional
unless the group proved that it
specifically targeted them and it
breached their constitutional
rights but they were unable to
"It cannot be seriously sug-
gested that during the two weeks
the legislation was proclaimed
for, the applicants relied on Sec-
tion 34 to their detriment," Pan-
He said the only evidence of
the applicants reliance on the
legislation was their applications
to be discharged of their offences.
Pannick also dismissed the
group s submission that the
repeal was contrary to the prin-
ciple of separation of powers as
it interfered with the role of the
Judiciary to adjudicate on ongo-
"The amendment act does
not interfere at all with the judi-
cial determination of guilt or
innocence at trial or sentenc-
ing...the repeal restores the judi-
cial role, rather than removing
it," Pannick said.
Senior Counsel Sophia Chote,
who is representing Edoo in the
appeal, also made submissions
on Director of Public Prosecu-
tions (DPP) Roger Gaspard s role
in the repeal.
According to the evidence,
Gaspard contacted Attorney
General Anand Ramlogan to sug-
gest the repeal after receiving
the Section 34 applications.
"The DPP is highly respected
and regarded, but what he did
on this occasion was an error,"
Chote said through his
actions, Gaspard overstepped his
role under the Constitution.
She claimed his role in the
repeal was contrary to interna-
tional standards for prosecutors
and a handbook for local pros-
ecutors that was written by him.
"The DPP manipulated the
process and took steps to tilt the
balance against the accused,
resulting in the very serious
repercussion of their being
denied their due-process rights,"
Pannick was unable to com-
plete his submissions by the end
of yesterday s hearing and will
continue this morning before
judges Allan Mendonca, Peter
Jamadar and Gregory Smith.
Pannick will be followed by
attorney Ian Benjamin, who is
representing the DPP.
State: Section 34 repeal
didn't target Piarco accused 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. It is
also claiming that the repeal was unfair as it
directly targeted it 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 before Magistrate
Ejenny Espinet in the Port-of-Spain Magistrates'
Although similar legal challenges were filed by
the other applicants after the repeal in
September last year, it was agreed during a
preliminary hearing the trio's lawsuits would be
used as a test case which would decide the fate
of the other applicants.
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
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 Benjamin.
Bail for Samad on polls station charge
UK attorneys Tom Richards, left, and Lord David Pannick leave the
Hall of Justice on Monday. PHOTO: BRIAN NG FATT
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