Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has shot back at claims of interference in the prosecution of detainees under the state of emergency, asserting that he will never interfere in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). In an interview yesterday, Ramlogan maintained that the decision to prosecute "was and would always remain the DPP's call." Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard had told the Sunday Guardian that he would continue to jealously guard his office at all costs, adding that no one would be allowed to chose attorneys for his office. "No other office holder would be allowed to choose any attorney for me for the prosecution for any matter...that choice remains mine exclusively," he had said.
Ramlogan, however, yesterday maintained that the creation of the legal team put together two weeks after the state of emergency was declared was done in full consultation with Gaspard and Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs. "The team was selected in consultation and discussion with the DPP who attended the first meeting along with the Police Commissioner where it was made clear to everyone that the role and function of the team is to assist the police," he said. "I reinforced the fact that the DPP maintained overall control and independence with respect to prosecution in all matters."
The AG said he also explained that selection of counsel for any prosecution was a matter for the DPP in his "sole judgment and discretion." The DPP's right to select counsel to prosecute criminal matters "has never been an issue," he added. He said he noted that the DPP made no allegation of any attempt by any public official to select counsel for him."That said, the attorneys who were selected on the team traditionally have been retained by the DPP to prosecute matters on behalf of the State and that was obviously a relevant consideration in their selection," Ramlogan said.
"The purpose of the team is simply to assist in proper case management as we prepare for an avalanche of cases with respect to the state of emergency." He said the team was also created to provide much-needed logistical and technical support to the hard-working team of in-house lawyers in the Police Service. "The in-house team is very small and simply don't have the capacity to deal with this volume of cases," Ramlogan said. Saying the function of the team was not "necessarily to prosecute," he said proper case preparation was crucial to provide the DPP with sound basis for criminal prosecution.
According to Ramlogan, there was "no problem" between the offices of the Attorney General and the DPP. "The DPP and I enjoy a very healthy, cordial, pleasant and professional working relationship," he said. "We meet regularly and have a sense of mutual respect and understanding for each other. "I do not think the DPP has said anything to call that relationship into question."