Anand Ramlogan’s challenge of witness-tampering case goes to January 2024

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Former attorney general Anand Ramlogan – FILE PHOTO

A HIGH Court judge will on June 28 rule on if the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) should be included in a constitutional claim filed by former attorney general Anand Ramlogan relating to the criminal prosecution of him for alleged witness tampering.

On Friday, Justice Nadia Kangaloo set the date for the ruling on if the DPP will be made an interested party in Ramlogan’s claim to provide assistance to the court.

The issue of the DPP’s position was raised as a conundrum at Friday’s hearing when Ramlogan’s lead attorney, Peter Carter, KC, said if the DPP wanted to join the matter, he could make formal application so the judge can rule if there is justification for him to be joined.

Carter admitted the DPP was served with the application “as a matter of courtesy” since Ramlogan’s claim was based on evidence which will be used in the criminal trial.

Senior Counsel Ian Benjamin, who appears for the DPP, said it was entirely for Ramlogan to decide who the defendants in the claim were – usually it is the Attorney General – but his sole purpose for appearing in the matter was to assist the court since the complaints raised concerned the criminal prosecution which had been put on hold when the constitutional challenge was referred to the High Court by the chief magistrate.

On July 11, when the preliminary inquiry into charges against Ramlogan was expected to begin, his attorneys asked for the referral to the High Court. Chief Magistrate Maria Busby Earle-Caddle agreed with the referral after she was told if the challenge as successful, the State might not be able to continue to prosecute Ramlogan.

For his part, Benjamin said the DPP was only concerned with providing the court with efficient, effective, not duplicative, assistance since his client may very well be the source of evidence for the Attorney General.

“Our concern is to facilitate an expeditious resolution of the matter…It is not right that the prosecution is suspended. It cannot be right, it cannot have a life of its own. I am not anxious to delay anything.”

After all the parties held their own discussions, it was agreed that the State will file its response to Ramlogan’s claim by May 31, after which the DPP will decide how and if it could assist the court on issues in dispute by June 5.

Kangaloo will rule on the DPP’s position on June 28 after the relevant responses were in and additional dates were given for the filing of submissions and legal authorities with a hearing for oral arguments scheduled for January 29-30, 2024..

Kangaloo said once all the submissions were in, she would be in a better position to say when she can give a ruling.

Ramlogan is contending that his constitutional rights, including the rights to his private and family life, were breached when a High Court judge granted warrants to police to tap his telephone lines.

He is contending there was an “unlawful” issuance of warrants by the judge for the interception of communication data; the unlawful retrieval and collection of communications data pursuant to warrants under the Interception of Communications Act (IOCA), and “the apparent bias” of the judge who issued five interception orders on May 14, 2019.

“The essence of these complaints is that the State misapplied primary legislation, namely the IOCA, to secure access to private telecommunications data belonging to the accused, and that upon this being pointed out, wrongfully and in bad faith misused the warrant process under Section 5 IOPEA (Indictable Offences (Preliminary Enquiry) Act),” the complaint said.

Ramlogan was charged in 2017 on charges of misbehaviour in public office and obstruction of justice.

The allegation against him surrounds an allegation by the director of the Police Complaints Authority David West that he was approached by Ramlogan to withdraw his witness statement in a defamation case against then-opposition leader Dr Keith Rowley in 2014 in exchange to be appointed as PCA director.

The former attorney general is accused of obstructing justice by using threats and bribery to persuade West to not give evidence in Ramlogan’s defamation case against Rowley.

He is also accused of misbehaving in public office by impro­perly endeavouring for West not to testify on Rowley’s behalf. The offences are alleged to have taken place in 2014 while he was attorney general.

When the allegations came to light, he was fired by then-prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.