Nelson must wait to know if he can appeal conviction

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Jamaican-born attorney Vincent Nelson. – File photo

CONVICTED King’s Counsel Vincent Nelson will have to wait to know if he is allowed to appeal his conviction and sentence.

He was found guilty of conspiring to commit money laundering, misbehaviour in public office, and conspiracy to commit an act of corruption relating to a legal-fee kickback conspiracy.

A notice of appeal was filed on October 31, four years, four months, and 13 days after his conviction. In it, he asked the court for an extension of time.

On March 27, Justice of Appeal Mark Mohammed heard Nelson’s application. The hearing was held in chamber at the Hall of Justice, Port of Spain. The judge has reserved his ruling to a date to be fixed.

Nelson was represented by King’s Counsel Edward Fitzgerald, Varun Debideen, and Naveen Maraj.

The Director of Public Prosecutions was represented by Ian Benjamin, SC, Tonya Rowley, and Tekiya Jorsling. Nelson’s appeal was premised on events leading up to a plea agreement with the DPP.

These events, the appeal alleged, were an abuse of executive power and a breach of a promise not to prosecute.

In May 2019, Nelson, a tax attorney who lives in the UK, was indicted on three charges.

He entered a plea deal with the Office of the DPP, including an agreement that he would testify against former attorney general Anand Ramlogan, SC, and ex-UNC senator Gerald Ramdeen.

Nelson was convicted on June 4, 2019, sentenced on March 2, 2020, and ordered to pay $2.25 million in fines, which he wants the State to pay.

In October 2022, DPP Roger Gaspard made the shocking announcement that he was discontinuing the case against Ramlogan and Ramdeen because Nelson refused to testify against them.

In March, Nelson’s attorneys wrote to Gaspard asking him to appeal his conviction and sentence, but the DPP refused, saying he believed the grounds set out by Nelson were not justified or factually well-founded.