I am not surprised that the DPP has denied that Senator Faris Al Rawi obtained copies of the PCA and police reports into the Flying Squad from his office. This in fact confirms my previous statements that these documents were not leaked to the PNM by the Office of the DPP.
Two Sections in the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) Act are relevant to the present controversy and they read as follows:
Section 21:4 “Notwithstanding any written law to the contrary, information and evidence obtained by the Authority in performance of its function under this Act is confidential”
Section 47 (h) (iii) A person who without lawful justification or excuse discloses confidential information, commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of fifty thousand dollars and to imprisonment for five years.
It is the duty and responsibility of the Police Service to investigate criminal offences. The leak of the PCA report is a clear violation of Section 47 which gives rise to the commission of a criminal offence. Senator Al Rawi has been evasive and disingenuous on the source of this leak but must be called upon to account for his actions.
The PCA in its first press release of 13 April, 2014 (see PCA PRESS RELEASE 13th-April-2014) quite correctly adopted a similar position. It said:
“The PCA is greatly concerned that public comments made on the matter have placed highly sensitive information in the public domain while deliberations are still on-going… It is therefore a matter for the Honourable Senator to explain the means through which he came into possession of the PCA’s Report and the inaccuracies read into the Hansard on Tuesday April 8th, 2014”.
This is the correct position and any attempt to move away from it would not be proper. The onus lies on Al Rawi to come clean and clear the air on his mysterious source.
As Attorney General, I have a duty to protect the public interest by highlighting violations of the law so that the relevant authorities can take such action as they deem appropriate. I am satisfied that I have performed my duty and the ball is therefore, now in Faris Al Rawi’s court. The Commissioner of Police and the Integrity Commission will also, no doubt discharge their duties in accordance with the law.
A failure to investigate could be interpreted as an abdication of one’s legal duty and responsibility but that is a judgement call and a matter for the discretion of the relevant authorities.
MINISTRY OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
24 APRIL, 2014