Chaguanas West MP Dinesh Rambally yesterday accused Attorney General Reginald Armour of hiding behind the sub judice rule to avoid having to address the ongoing Vincent Nelson indemnity fiasco.
“What before the courts is making this sub judice?” Rambally asked as he waved an online T&T Guardian article at a media conference at the Office of the Opposition Leader in Port-of-Spain.
The article was headlined, “AG Armour declines LATT disclosure request.” Posted online just a couple of hours before the media conference, it stated that Armour had declined a request from the Law Association of T&T or disclosure in relation to the collapse of the corruption case against former attorney general Anand Ramlogan and attorney Gerald Ramdeen.
Rambally wanted Armour to know that this “self-inflicted vow of silence,” under what he described as a false application of the sub judice principle, will not be accepted by the public.
“Mr Attorney General, stop misrepresenting the state of affairs, stop misrepresenting what is your role, stop misrepresenting what is the proper application of legal principles, you are not bound by any sub judice principles,” he said.
Sub judice means that a matter is still before the court and conversations around it must be limited because it can prejudice the case and put a fair trial at risk.
Armour defended his decision to the LATT by saying his office was currently defending a lawsuit from Nelson over the alleged breach of an indemnity agreement between him (Nelson) and former AG Faris Al-Rawi.
However, Rambally said the criminal proceedings against Ramlogan and Ramdeen have been dropped by the Director of Public Prosecutions and what is now before the court is a civil matter.
“I repeat, in the criminal justice system, so you tell me what is before the courts? There are no criminal proceedings before the courts, that is number one and even if you want to stretch beyond the limits of elasticity that this sub judice rule can apply in the civil matter that you are talking about, you tell me what is in the public domain that is now going to be a discussion on the merit of the matter.”
Rambally said the public will not let Armour get away with what he described as conduct unbecoming of an AG. He also called on the Prime Minister to break his silence on the matter.
“Why are we not hearing from them?” Rambally asked, Is it that they are busy in Tobago partying for the whole week because it was the Prime Minister’s birthday?”
Rambally also questioned why the T&T Police Service has not yet investigated Al-Rawi and other Cabinet members for what he called an inducement for Nelson to plead guilty.
“Mr Jacob (McDonald), is it that you do not want to jeopardise your chances of being appointed the next Commissioner of Police, is that how the TTPS is now being run?”