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Tableland murder trial adjourned at Sando Assizes
Former Minister in the Ministry of National Security Subhas Panday on Monday said he will withhold his services in a legal aid case until Parliament passes an amendment to increase fees under the Legal Aid and Advisory Act.
Panday, who was appointed to represent murder accused Murray Joseph Forde, expressed his position when he appeared before San Fernando Second Assizes Judge Devan Rampersad.
“I have a slight difficulty to stand in this matter prior to the passing of the Legal Aid amendment bill. Parliament is not sitting but the Chairman of the Legal Aid Authority (Chateram Sinanan) who is seated in court, indicates that the bill will be passed by the end of October,” Panday said.
He also expressed support for Chief Justice Ivor Archie’s statement that judicial officers’ compensation packages are overdue for review by the Salaries Review Commission (SRC).
Panday said: “I stand with the CJ on better remuneration packages for legal officers.”
The former minister added, “We stand with the judges in their quest for justice.”
Rampersad agreed to adjourn the case to November 8 for trial.
Forde, 51, of Rio Claro, was charged by Sgt Celestine Phillip for the murder Annette Sawh, 38, between February 11 and 14, 2002, at Tableland.
Sawh went missing on February 11, a Carnival Monday. Her decomposing body was discovered by a search party on Ash Wednesday morning in a bushy area off Nohar Road, Tableland.
When contacted for comment on the legal aid situation, Sinanan said he was in a meeting and could not speak.
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