BY INDARJIT SEURAJ
The failure by the prosecution to have an English witness present to testify against former prime minister Basdeo Panday, his wife Oma and two others into bribery allegations has caused yet another hiccup into the matter.
The matter was called before Magistrate Ejenny Espinet in the Port-of-Spain First Court, where the prosecution was supposed to take evidence from their final witness before closing its case.
Instead, a letter submitted to the court from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions stated the unavailability of lead prosecutor British Queen’s Counsel Sir Timothy Cassel, as well as English witness Ian Millington.
The letter further explained that the men were unavailable for yesterday’s hearing because they could not secure flights to Trinidad.
But attorney Ravi Rajcoomar, counsel for Panday, said it was a poor excuse as there were other routes available for travel from the United Kingdom to Trinidad.
He said there were connecting flights available from the UK to New York and then to Trinidad.
Rajcoomar said the prosecution’s attempts to stall the inquiry was an “abuse of process.”
“In my plain view it is a manipulation,” he said.
The Pandays are accused of receiving a £25,000 bribe from former works minister Carlos John and UNC financier and businessman Ishwar Galbaransingh, to favour the latter’s construction company for obtaining work on the Piarco Airport development project.
John and Galbaransingh have been charged with giving the £25,000 bribe to the Pandays.
Counsel for Galbaransingh Gillian Lucky joined in Rajcoomar’s submissions, calling the conduct of the prosecution towards the defence “reprehensible.”
Lucky said she had shuffled several medical appointments to accommodate yesterday’s hearing and she, too, described it as an “abuse of process.”
Sophia Chote, who represented John, described the delay as “a sorry state of affairs.”
Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Carla Brown-Antoine, who stood in place of Cassel, listened to the complaints made by the defence but chose not to respond.
She had earlier submitted the letter to the court and made an application for an adjournment.
Rajcoomar asked that the prosecution not be allowed to present Millington as a witness.
But while Espinet acknowledged the defence was treated with discourtesy, she said her powers were limited under the Preliminary Inquiry Act.
She said had it been a trial, her decision might have been different.
Espinet adjourned the matter to September 14....
Yeah, Cassel find out he had to go Trinidad to prosecute Panday yesterday morning. and when he went to buy a cheap economy class ticket, all sell out. We stupid jackass buying dat.
Wot he fraid is when he land in Trinidad he go get he hand, leg and head cut off.The man know he get a job right in de devil den, so who aint go fraid and hide for he life, prosecutor or no prosecutor.?. When you see September come, let we hear wot dey next excuse go be.
And who it is dangling de puppet? Old King Creole as usual.PUM- Bullshit leader Manning.You telling me dat ass of a nigger paying Cassel big bucks for de wuk and de man aint going to rush dong dey to collect it ?
Fish stink and allyuh cyan't smell it?