Law Association looks at junior AG’s Piarco comments

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Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General Senator Renuka Sagramsingh-Sooklal displays legal advice received by her ministry from attorney Kerwin Garcia on the Piarco I case during a press conference at Government Plaza, Port of Spain, Wednesday. Photo by Sureash Cholai

The council of the Law Association is examining statements made by Minister in the Office of the Attorney General Renuka Sagramsingh-Sooklal to determine whether her remarks on the Piarco I case could be interpreted as an attempt to influence the independent office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Newsday was reliably informed the association was considering the issue on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Opposition MP Dinesh Rambally called Sagramsingh-Sooklal’s statements about on making sure those charged in the Piarco corruption matter are brought to trial “a shocking and blatant attempt to pervert the course of justice.”

Rambally is an attorney and MP for Chaguanas West.

Sagramsingh-Sooklal held a press briefing on Wednesday to give an update on the possible outcomes of the Piarco I case. She disclosed a preliminary legal opinion from attorney Kerwyn Garcia, the husband of Senate president Christine Kangaloo. Garcia listed the options available to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to pursue the case against the Piarco accused, which included restarting the preliminary enquiry after 22 years before a different magistrate.

On Wednesday, DPP Roger Gaspard, SC, also issued a statement, saying the decision on whether to continue it is still under review.

On May 2, a US judge automatically disqualified AG Reginald Armour, SC, as the chief litigant against former government minister Brian Kuei Tung and others charged in a multi-million-dollar civil-asset forfeiture case that has dragged on for the past 18 years.

The judge disqualified Armour, as well as the US law firm of Sequor Law, owing to Armour’s previous role as a defence attorney for Kuei Tung and his holding discussions with the firm after disclosing his conflict of interest.

The public record shows Armour’s deeper involvement as a senior counsel for the defendants.

Armour has said he had a lapse in memory about the extent of his role as Kuei Tung’s lawyer and was never given the opportunity to correct the court’s record.

The state has appealed the decision to strike out the law firm but not the decision to disqualify Armour.

Armour was appointed on March 16 to replace Faris Al-Rawi as AG in a surprise Cabinet reshuffle. Al-Rawi has taken over Armour’s role in the Miami case as this country’s client representative and had been pursuing the US claim for over seven years before.

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