PM concerned about $20m in damages

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Prime Minister Dr Rowley, File photo/Sureash Cholai

THE Prime Minister is concerned about the State having to pay damages for malicious prosecution of nine men acquitted of the murder of businesswoman Vindra Naipaul-Coolman.

Speaking after the opening of a new PriceSmart plant at the Point Lisas Business Park on Tuesday, Dr Rowley said, “Let me begin by saying as you know, the Cabinet has no role whatsoever in proceedings in the court.”

But he added that developments in the trial were reported in public.

Rowley told reporters, “I am in the same position that you are in. I’ve seen the news. It is very disturbing.”

As a result of this, he added, “I too am waiting to hear what the Office of the Attorney General has to say tomorrow (Wednesday). But clearly this is an unsatisfactory situation and I am waiting to hear what the facts are.”

AG Reginald Armour, SC, is said to be out of the country with Acting AG Stuart Young ordering an immediate investigation into the circumstances surrounding the State’s failure to defend the malicious prosecution case brought by the nine former murder accused.

Rowley said, “This is not what one expects in situations like this.”

The Office of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs said a news conference will be held on this matter on Wednesday.

On Monday, a High Court master assessed damages for the nine amounting to $20 million. Each man is set to receive $2.1 million, plus interest, for malicious prosecution.

Naipaul-Coolman was kidnapped from the driveway of her residence in Lange Park, Chaguanas, on December 19, 2006. Her body was never found.