8 Mar 2015

The Case of the Walking Documents – 4

Mr MeddleThe case of the walking documents took a strange turn this morning.

It seems Merry Mr Meddle was making mischief when he called (via phone) attorney Mark Seepersad who discovered the documents. The content of the call so far remains unknown.

What raises my curiosity are the following known facts:

  • Mark Seepersad shared an office with Gerald Ramdeen.
  • The box of documents contained prisoner litigation letters.
  • Gerald Ramdeen is the attorney who sued the State in the several matters where prisoners injuries were ‘copied and paste’ in many cases and the evidence wasn’t able to substantiate such injuries.
  • Gerald Ramdeen was instructed by Varun Debideen (pictured).
  • Varun Debideen is the son of Dev Debideen, who received 2 SUVs from Anand Ramlogan and benefited from the tax exemption that Government employees are entitled to.
  • Former Solicitor General Eleanor Donaldson-Honeywell was also concerned about the Office of the Attorney General retaining attorneys from the former chambers of the then incumbent AG.

The former Solicitor General in her letter to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar also asked her to investigate circumstances, “that may amount inter alia to breaches of professional ethics by the attorneys involved and may have the effect of perverting the course of justice in litigation against the State”.

She also referred to the retaining of lawyers by the Office of the AG who defended the State in civil law claims while going against the State in prison litigation.

  • The Prime Minister actually appointed said AG to investigate himself, which ended in the resignation of the Solicitor General.

Persad-Bissessar last week, instructed Attorney General Anand Ramlogan to investigate concerns raised by Donaldson-Honeywell as it related to matters involving lawyers engaged in prison litigation *.

The start of this investigation was postponed indefinitely following the death of the late Senior Counsel Dana Seetahal on Sunday.

* This implies that the then AG was also involved in ‘matters involving prison litigation’.

Note that he is a junior attorney (qualified sometime in 2010) and a good pal of a (former) senior member of the government. Interestingly, his relevant experience is not printed in his profile on the TTMFC page, unlike the other Board members whose profiles indicate 15, or 20 years experience etc. Strings help, don’t they?

What is really baffling is what role Mr Meddle has in this affair. Granted, we know he meddled and muddled quite a bit in the course of his course (sorry, I couldn’t resist) to ignominy, but to be involved in this matter can only be interpreted as protecting someone. Who that person is remains to be seen. Ramdeen? Debideen? Harripaul? Himself?

Remember this is directly linked to the cases where prisoners sued the State under false pretences (fake injuries) and the attorneys who prepared the statements of injuries were copying and pasting said injuries from one successful case to another. Mr Meddle was the one being sued (not in personam) and kept accepting liability in those cases.

Rodney Samaroo, Jamal Fortune, Ker­nell Sealy and Sambury all had similarly word­ed statements, despite their incidents occurring years apart and involving different prison and police officers.

The statements have helped Sealy get awar­­d­ed $120,000, $90,000 to Samaroo, and $165,142 to Fortune.

By consent [re Sambury] (the State accepted liability), judg­ment on liability was entered against the office of the AG, with damages to be assessed.

This investigation is becoming ‘curiouser and curiouser’ and I intend to keep a close eye on it. Not only does it involve (as stated before) disrepute to the judiciary and the rule of law, but it has all the earmarks of a successful soap opera – cronyism, nepotism, theft, police bumbling, political and legal intrigue from ‘high-ups’ in society and even murder. We might even discover some sex.

Addendum: Fees earned by attorneys from June 2010 to October 2013:

According to invoices obtained by the Express, for the periods June 2010 to October 2013, Newman topped the list of high earners, having received $14,474,613.54; Ramdeen—$10,443,423; Ramsahoye—$7,750,096; Sinanan—$6,568,225; Ramkissoon—$5,924,631.80; Jairam—$4,478,847.50; and Singh—$3,728,832.97.

The fees were paid for briefs on being retained by the Office of the Attorney General and include professional legal advice, court appearances, investigations, and judicial review applications.

The results of the investigations, sources say, have not been forwarded to the police for investigation, nor sent to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

However, the matters are before the courts after civil action was initiated.

Sources say, in the past, the retention of attorneys was done by the Solicitor General. However, such a practice has lapsed and all decisions on who to retain have been taken by Attorney General Anand Ramlogan.

Who say life not exciting? Watch this space, more to come.