Saturday, April 6, 2013

DPP's failure to charge Ish and Steve allowed them to exploit Section 34

In October 2010, Attorney General Anand Ramlopgan signed the extradition order to send both men to the United States to face trial . 

Galbaransingh faces 13 charges, among them wire fraud, conspiracy to launder money and engaging in unlawful transactions; Ferguson faces a total of 82 charges, which include wire fraud and conspiracy to launder money. The offences are alleged to have occurred in the US, T&T, The Bahamas and elsewhere between September 1,1996 and December 31, 2005.

The United States had always wanted to try the men in American courts but they resisted this until Ramlogan received and signed the extradition documents. Once he did that the two men went to court. 
In December 2011 Justice Ronnie Boodoosingh ruled in their favour. 

The 0rder stated:

"164. The decision of the Attorney General to order the extradition of the claimants to the United States of America is quashed.

"165. It is declared that the appropriate forum to try the claimants in relation to the award of contracts for the construction of the Piarco Airport, and in particular contracts CP 9 and CP 13, is Trinidad and Tobago.

"166. It is declared that it would be unjust, oppressive and unlawful to order the extradition of the claimants and that extradition is debarred by the operation of section 16 (3) of the Extradition Act of Trinidad and Tobago. Having regard to my clear finding on this issue I do not think it necessary to make an order of prohibition. The effect ought to be the same". 

left the men in Trinidad and the onus to charge them was with the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Roger Gaspard. 

Had Gaspard acted with urgency in the matter and charged the two men following the order by Justice Boodoosingh they would not have had an opportunity to exploit the Section 34 matter. That’s because Section 34 contained a statute of limitation of 10 years. 

The matter of the trial of Galbaransingh and Ferguson had been discussed long before the extradition order landed on Ramlogan’s desk.

In 2010, the late Sir Ellis Clarke presented a legal opinion in which he strongly criticised the “prosecuting authorities” and concluded that both men should be tried in Trinidad.

He also pointed to what he called the “the glaring inconsistency in seeking the extradition of Eduardo Hillman-Walker on the ground that Trinidad and Tobago is the proper forum but rejecting that very ground in order to extradite Ferguson and Galbaransingh.”

According to local media reports Sir Ellis said: “The facts and circumstances set out in the representations manifest a deplorable lack of objectivity and an unhealthy collusion by the prosecuting authorities, to ensure that the defendants would be subjected to the maximum inconvenience and the perils of a prosecution in the US.”

Sir Ellis told local media, "My opinion has nothing to do with the personalities. It would have been the same had it been Bim and Bam, Gypsy and Tipsy."

He said it was difficult to see why the proper place for trial for Ferguson and Galbaransingh is somewhere the US. 

"I am not suggesting that they should get off or not be tried. They have to be tried and if necessary, convicted. The question is only 'where'. And to say that we don't have justice in Trinidad would be a serious accusation," Sir Ellis told the Express newspaper. He added that the matter is not a political one but one of personalities.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai