Law Association to discuss witness’s lawyer claims

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Glenn Cheddie –

LAW Association president Sophia Chote, SC, said the association will discuss the claim made by Dr Glenn Cheddie that he was an attorney. Cheddie made the claim when he testified before the Paria Commission of Enquiry (CoE) at Tower D of the Port of Spain International Waterfront Centre on Monday.

He was being questioned by attorney Prakash Ramadhar at the time.

The commission is investigating the deaths of four divers on February 25, 2022 at Paria Fuel Trading Co Ltd’s premises at Pointe-a-Pierre when they were sucked into a 30-inch pipeline that they were doing maintenance work on.

When questioned on Tuesday by Paria lead counsel Gilbert Peterson SC, Cheddie admitted that he was not an attorney.

CoE chairman Jerome Lynch, KC, asked Cheddie “I want to know why you didn’t correct the error you made yesterday (about being an attorney)?”

Cheddie apologised for being caught up in the moment on Monday and said he thought he’d have the chance to make amends on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Chote said, “This is a serious matter and will be considered at the next meeting of (the association’s) Council.”

That meeting is scheduled to take place on February 7. Chote made no further comment on the matter.

In a statement issued in response to questions from Newsday, the commission said, “Please be advised that perjury is a matter for the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP). What a commission can do is invite the DPP to consider taking action.”

The commission did not say whether or not such action is being considered at this time.

Peterson said Paria would not be taking any action against Cheddie with respect to any of the statements he made when he testified before the commission this week.

“It is really a matter for the Law Association at this stage.”

On Tuesday, Peterson questioned the relevance of Cheddie’s testimony before the commission as a diving expert when other divers who appeared before the commission, would not have a chance to confirm or refute what he was saying.

Peterson asked that no weight be given to Cheddie’s evidence. Lynch subsequently disallowed Cheddie’s evidence after he was questioned by Peterson and Kenson attorney Chase Pegus.

Attorney Emir Crowne, in a Facebook post on Tuesday, expressed concern about Cheddie’s claim to be an attorney.

On Wednesday, Crowne told Newsday, “It is little alarming and unfortunate that Mr Cheddie basically acknowledged to the CoE that he was in breach of the Legal Profession Act by holding himself out to be a ‘lawyer.'”

Later in his testimony on Tuesday, Cheddie described himself as a sports law consultant. Crowne was uncertain of what the title of sports law consultant meant other than “someone who is available for consultation (and presumably advice) as it relates to sports law.”

In accordance with the act, the names of practicing attorneys in TT are kept on the rolls of attorneys of law at the Registrar of the High Court in Port of Spain. Section 15(2) states that before a person’s name can be placed on the rolls, the registrar must determine whether the person fulfilled all conditions required by law to practice as an attorney.

Section 20 (2) states no person can practice law in TT as an attorney if their name is not on the attorneys’ roll and they do not have a valid practicing certificate.

Cheddie was unavailable for comment. Efforts to reach him by phone and messaging were unsuccessful.