AG mum on Seetahal case, says electronic documents acceptable in court

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Dana Seetahal, SC, outside of the Hall of Justice. –

ATTORNEY General Reginald Armour on Thursday remained mum on a delay in the prosecution of the murder of former independent senator Dana Seetahal, who was gunned down ten years ago.

The judiciary on May 4 said it had electronically sent 8,100 pages of court documents to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in December 2023 and this January.

But DPP Roger Gaspard on May 7 complained that under the Indictable Offences (Preliminary Enquiry) Act, his office was not allowed to receive and file documents electronically but required these as paper documents.

This point was indirectly explored at the post-Cabinet briefing at Whitehall, Port of Spain, when a reporter, without making any references to Seetahal’s case, asked if the Electronic Transactions Act 2011 applies to legal documents sent to and from the judiciary. This Act (section 17) says electronic documents are legally acceptable.

“Information or record in electronic form or a data message will not be deemed inadmissible as evidence (a) solely on the ground that it is in electronic form; or (b) on the ground that it is not in the original non-electronic form if it is the best evidence,” the Act states.

Replying to the reporter’s question if court documents could be sent electronically, Armour said, “In principle, yes.”

Another reporter sought a direct comment on the Seetahal case.

Armour replied, “I’d not wish to comment on things within the purview of the judiciary in terms of what is taking place in the judiciary on the Seetahal matter.

“I’ve also gone on record as of yesterday, to say that to the extent that matter has emerged as a conversation between the chief justice and DPP, I don’t want to comment on what the DPP is on record as saying.”

Newsday asked if the judiciary was underfunded and/or not giving value for money.

Armour replied, “My answer to that is not a question deserving of an answer because it surmises and assumes many things that I am not privy to.

“It would be purely speculative on my part to answer those many questions that you asked.”