Seetahal, five others to be honoured at law school’s 50th anniversary

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Dana Seetahal SC –

FORMER special prosecutor and independent senator Dana Seetahal SC will be among six graduates to be honoured by Hugh Wooding Law School at its 50th-anniversary gala dinner and awards on July 13.

The law school will be honouring the graduates for their contributions and service to legal education to generations of Caribbean lawyers. The black-tie event will be held at the Hilton Hotel.

Seetahal, who was born on July 8, 1955, attended law school in 1977.

She was called to the bar in 1979. She went on to work as a state prosecutor from 1980 to 1987 and served as a magistrate from 1987 to 1988 before returning as a senior state prosecutor from 1988 to 1991.

From 1995 to 2007 she was course director and senior lecturer at the law school. She was appointed an independent senator between 2002 and 2010. She was elevated to senior counsel in 2006.

On May 4, 2014, Seetahal was shot dead along Hamilton Holder Street, Woodbrook, while heading to her One Woodbrook Place apartment.

On July 25, 2015, 11 men were arrested and charged with her murder with one becoming a state witness to testify against the group.

A decade after her murder, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the judiciary are now locked in a stalemate over the transfer of critical documents from the magistracy to allow an indictment to be filed in the High Court.

The judiciary said it sent the 8,100 pages of documents to the DPP’s office electronically but DPP Roger Gaspard SC, said he needs the physical documents in keeping with the provisions of the Indictable Offence (Preliminary Enquiry) Act.

Although the Chief Justice amended the rules to allow for electronic copies to be used, Gaspard does not believe court rules can override the provisions of the act. The judiciary had promised to send the notes of evidence to the Office of the DPP by May 20 but has since rescinded that offer.

Also being honoured posthumously will be former PNM attorney general and principal of the Norman Manley Law School Keith Sobion.

Keith Sobion –

Sobion had made the call for the establishment of a family court during his tenure as AG between 1991 and 1995 and was the first West Indian-trained lawyer to head the law school in Jamaica.

Sobion was nominated to be Speaker in April 2002.

The president of the Criminal Bar Association Israel Khan SC, who graduated from law school in 1979, is also among the awardees. He previously received the school’s long service award in 2004.

Israel B Rajah Khan –

In March 2023 he was the opposition’s UNC nominee for president. However, the PNM’s nominee Christine Kangaloo was successful in the parliamentary vote.

Khan has a wide practice in the local and regional courts in the Caribbean and was recently included on the International Criminal Court’s list of defence advocates at The Hague, Netherlands to represent people charged with international crimes.

He has been an associate tutor at the law school for the past 36 years.

Adrian Saunders –

The present president of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) president Justice Adrian Saunders, of St Vincent and the Grenadines, former CCJ judge and law school tutor Rolston Nelson and CCJ judge Justice Andrew Burgess, of Barbados, will also be honoured.