It is comical to say the very least that a man who was forced to recuse himself from the Cabinet on 37 occasions due to conflicts of interest would seek to lecture others on the subject.
Al Rawi’s claim that there is a conflict of interest in my challenging the non-bailable nature of murder is ridiculous and amusing. It shows that he has no appreciation of the complex legal issues involved in this matter and that they are beyond his comprehension. The reckless assertion that I am trying to secure bail for murderers is not just untrue, it is an irresponsible and dangerous misrepresentation.
For the record, the client, Akili Charles does not need bail. He is a free man as the charges were all dismissed on a no case submission. Unfortunately, that freedom came after almost a decade of being denied bail by the Parliament whilst the charge brought against him by the State crawled through the judicial system, only to be dismissed.
Should we succeed in the argument that it is the Judiciary and not the Parliament that is responsible for denying bail, Defendants will be entitled to make an application for bail, not GET BAIL. Obviously, no one who poses a threat to society should be granted bail and I support that. This includes repeat offenders, those who threaten witnesses or pose a flight risk. But the man who kills a bandit in the course of a robbery or rape at his home, the woman who defends herself from violent attacks from her partner and people who react to crimes of passion should have the right to make an application for bail and the judicial officer be allowed to decide based on the facts of the case.
The allegation of a conflict of interest is even more astonishing given that a Government MP recently argued that the denial of bail by Parliament was illegal and unconstitutional. I have not heard the AG attack him, so why me? In the case of Danielle St Omer -v- The Attorney General, erroneously cited by the AG as one of my cases, it was in fact the Honourable Member of Parliament for Port-of-Spain South Mr Keith Scotland represented Ms St Omer and argued at the High Court and Court of Appeal that Parliament’s restriction on bail was unconstitutional as it was not reasonably justifiable and also violated the separation of powers.
How is it that the AG does not find his colleague in the Lower House to be conflicted but takes issue with me? This is hypocrisy of the highest order and the AG, in seeking to score cheap political points against me, is not only in contempt of the Court but has tread dangerously close to defaming my character.
For the record, I take no issue with Mr Scotland who has distinguished himself as Counsel at both the civil and criminal bar and much like myself has represented his clients fearlessly and to the best of his ability in accordance with the oath taken by all attorneys.
Those who hold public office should consider their legacy, and the legacy of this AG so far amounts to nothing but recusals, incompetence, hypocrisy and attacks upon members of the legal profession. Political exploitation of Andrea Bharatt’s death to condemn me for trying to free murders and kidnappers is inflammatory, malicious, and mischievous. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Sadly, his weak and distasteful attempt to influence the outcome of this matter by creating public furore is being imitated by the Prime Minister who has reportedly made similar contemptuous statements on a platform to wit:
“That is not to say bail for murder is not practised in some countries, but is that what we want in TT?
“The answer is ‘no’. I speak for you. I trust that those who make the decision would make it on the basis that the people of TT do not want that as part of our environment.”
The shameless attempt to pressure the judicial officer who has to rule on this matter by no less than the Prime Minister is alarming and should frighten any right-thinking citizen who believes in democracy and the rule of law. Perhaps MP Scotland needs to give the AG and the PM an urgent law lecture on the separation of powers and the sub judice rule.
Whilst I remain concerned that the independent Law Association has not seen it fit to comment on these remarks, I am equally committed to not being bullied into silence by these baseless and malicious attacks by the Attorney General.
Senator Jayanti Lutchmedial