Saturday, May 4, 2013

Duprey's lawyer challenges AG; Ramlogan tells lawyer he'll meet him in court if necessary

File: Lawrence Duprey 
Lawrence Duprey's lawyer, Sir Lionel Luckhoo, has written to Attorney general Anand Ramlogan suggesting that the AG's comment that Duprey might be a "wanted man" is “illogical and inexplicable.” 

Sir Lionel's letter to the AG Friday said Ramlogan's comments were "outrageous" and warned that Duprey might have to consider seeking an injunction to stop the AG from making “public statements with the weight of your office behind you that give the impression that you have already determined the outcome.”

Ramlogan responded immediately through his lawyer, Donna Prowell, telling Sir Lionel he is ready to go to court if necessary. 

The AG's letter is reproduced below:
May 3, 2013
Lionel M. Luckhoo, Esq.,
Trinity Chambers
Nos. 44-58 Edward Street,

Dear Sir:

We act herein for the Honourable Attorney General, Senator Anand Ramlogan SC. Your letter of even date addressed to our client has been passed to us with instructions to reply thereto.

Our instructions are as follows:-

1. Our client did in fact state that had Mr. Duprey been served with the sup-poena to attend and give evidence at the Coleman Commission of Enquiry (COI) and failed to show, he would have been liable to the criminal process. In such circumstances, your client risked prosecution for a criminal offence in accordance with of the Commissions of Enquiry Act, Chapter 19:01, Section 12 and would have most certainly been a wanted man.

2. Furthermore, it is common knowledge that your client was a material witness who was required to attend this COI. He was wanted by the Commission for this purpose. That you would take objection to the description of your client as the ‘central protagonist’ who was a wanted man in this regard is strange and illogical.

3. Our client rejects the assertion that his description of Mr. Duprey as the ‘central protagonist’ amounts to an unlawful arrogation or usurpation of the role of the Commissioner. Mr. Duprey was in fact the head of the CLICO empire. He was the executive Chairman of CL Financial and Chairman of CLICO. This description is therefore justified and fairly obvious to the average ‘man-in-the-street’.

4. Our client is well aware of the fact that the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) is constitutionally responsible for criminal prosecutions but wishes to draw your attention to the fact that the DPP has indicated that the COI has the status of a court of law and hence possesses the power to initiate criminal prosecution for non-attendance under section 12. Whilst it is noteworthy that you remember our client’s enviable track record in defending the constitutional rights of hundreds of citizens from all walks of life, it is precisely this experience with the less fortunate in our society that has led to his personal and official concern about the failure and/or refusal of Mr. Duprey to attend the COI.

5. With respect to your query about what Mr. Ramlogan’s response would have been had he been Mr. Duprey’s lawyer, we are instructed that he would have advised his client to return home to the country where he amassed his billion-dollar fortune and accept service of the Witness Summons. He would have further advised him that he should appear and give evidence before the COI and allow himself to be cross-examined where appropriate. He would have also advised him that to do otherwise, would have created the impression that he was being evasive and un-cooperative and led ordinary people to wonder if he had something to hide. In short, he would have advised to face the music and clear his good name.

6. Our client is happy that you took time to visit his Ministry’s website. His commitment to ‘justice for all’ however, is buttressed by his duty to protect and act in the public interest.

7. As one of the Attorneys representing Mr. Duprey, you would have no doubt advised him that Sir Anthony Coleman QC had issued a Witness Summons to secure his attendance. We are instructed that this summons was also served on your client’s brother, Mr. Peter Duprey by Constable Jason Marine #18444 on the 28th February, 2012 in attempt to ensure that he is aware that his attendance was required. It would be unfortunate if both your good self and Mr. Duprey’s brother failed to bring the fact of this Witness Summons to his attention. You did not state clearly whether your client was in fact made aware that the COI had issued a Witness Summons to secure his attendance.

8. In light of your decision to release your letter to the media, perhaps you can clarify this important issue as there are many who would want to know if Mr. Duprey was in fact aware of the Witness Summons and deliberately avoided or refused to come to Trinidad and Tobago to facilitate service.

9. That the fact that you are “astounded” that the police was directed to serve the Witness Summons on Mr. Duprey is perhaps a reflection on your lack of knowledge of the basic procedures utilised by all Commissions. We notice that you were careful to state that your client has “NOT been to Trinidad since the middle of 2009”. We would be grateful if you could clarify whether this means that he has been visiting Tobago as we are instructed that there are rumours that he has been visiting Tobago in the company of some friends aboard a yacht. Service of the Witness Summons upon him in Tobago, we are sure you would agree, would have been quite lawful as we are a twin island republic and the jurisdiction of the COI extends to Tobago.

In closing, we note that your letter does not purport to be a pre-action letter in accordance with the Pre-action Protocol Direction of the Civil Proceeding Rules (1998 as amended). Indeed, you do not allege defamation of any kind. Rest assured that our client stands ready, poised, willing and able to defend his statements. Mr. Ramlogan has instructed us to accept service on his behalf of any court proceedings you may wish to initiate

Be guided accordingly.
Donna Prowell

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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