This is the first part of a series on the court system in Trinidad and Tobago and how it works. The court system has three levels. There is:
• the Magistrates’ Court—the first level;
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar says nothing is wrong with focussing on the recommendations of the Police Complaints Authority’s (PCA) report on the New Flying Squad Investigations Unit. She made the comment yesterday in response to questions of a suggestion earlier by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard that focus be placed the report’s contents and not the leaking of the document. A public spat has developed between Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and PCA director Gillian Lucky since Opposition Senator Faris Al-Rawi revealed he had obtained the PCA and Police Service report on the unit.
Al-Rawi revealed the major recommendations of two reports, one by the PCA and the other by the Police Service, on the Flying Squad during his contribution to a debate in the Upper House about three weeks ago. He said then the documents recommended that criminal proceedings be considered by the DPP against police officers involved in the establishment of the squad.
Ramlogan has maintained that the report was leaked by the PCA and not the Police Service and accused Al Rawi of treason. PCA director Gillian Lucky and Al-Rawi have both denied Ramlogan’s claim. Ramlogan claimed the document was leaked by the PCA to Al-Rawi and the media but both Lucky and Al-Rawi have denied that. Ramlogan also accused Al-Rawi of treason for revealing the contents of the report before it had been passed on to the Government.
Gaspard finally broke his silence on the matter yesterday, saying his office, which received the report directly from the PCA, also did not leak the report. However, he said he preferred to focus on the contents of the report and not the leak. Noting yesterday that she had not heard what Gaspard had said and was going on what the media had told her of his comments, the PM said: “I would not want to speak on that matter. It is before the DPP. It is a mater that is a live investigation on the part of the DPP. “For us to focus on the contents of the report, nothing is wrong with that, except that the report has not come to us. It never came to us, it was always in the purview of the office of the DPP and I am certain the DPP will take his own advice which is to focus on the contents of the report.”
Asked if she had requested the report or intended to do so, she said: “Not until the DPP reports on the report. “When matters are before the DPP it is improper for any executive to seek reports from him or to read reports that are under his investigation. It would be totally improper and a bridge of the separation of powers between us.” Persad-Bissessar was questioned following an afternoon tea event for religious leaders in observance of Easter at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s. On another issue, Persad-Bissessar confirmed that her request to have T&T accede to the Caribbean Court of Justice for criminal matters only has been rejected by Caricom. The treaty which established the CCJ required that T&T get the support of all member states to effect the requested change. “We did not get unanimity for that so it cannot proceed,” she added.
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