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Thursday 26 April 2018
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Vicky tells court: I’ll defend myself

Vicky Boodram is escorted out of the San Fernando magistrates court after appearing on over 109 fraud charges yesterday. PHOTO BY VASHTI SINGH

Vicky Boodram told a San Fernando magistrate yesterday that she would represent herself instead of retaining an attorney to defend her on over 109 fraud charges, arising from her 2011 travel agency’s cruise-ship ticket sales.

It was Boodram’s second appearance in court since her escape on November 28 after police removed her from the Women’s Prison and took her to the Tunapuna court on an alleged summons to reappear in order for bail to be granted. Three days later, Boodram, 38, who is from Siparia, was recaptured in a house in Penal.

Yesterday, Boodram and her ex-husband Ravi Arjoonsingh appeared before senior magistrate Cherril-Anne Antoine on 109 charges of fraud relating to cruise-ship ticket sales.

Boodram is charged separately with two money-laundering offences and two counts of tendering forged documents.

Both are also facing 20 charges of fraud, which are pending in the Port of Spain magistrates’ court.

The charges stemmed from Boodram’s Travel & Cruises’ sale of tickets, which scores of customers had paid for. Their cruises never materialised.

Dookie and Sgt Vinelle Bassarath laid the money-laundering charges, which were investigated in connection with the purchase of a Mercedes Benz and a property in Palmiste, near San Fernando, allegedly from proceeds of the sales of tickets.

Yesterday, Boodram emerged from the cell block, followed by Dookie and Bassarath. Arjoonsingh, who is on bail, was seated inside the courtroom. Attorney Elaine Green of the law firm Hudson-Phillips and Co, announced that she was prosecuting, having been granted a fiat from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Green told Antoine the prosecution is seeking to conduct the preliminary inquiry through paper committal.

Several witness statements have been filed and there are just a few remaining, Green told Antoine.

Arjoonsingh told Antoine that Jagdeo Singh is his attorney, but when asked where hers was, Boodram answered, “Ma’am, I’m representing myself.”

Boodram has changed attorneys on six occasions.

She was first represented by Singh, then Larry Williams, Keith Scotland, Jason Jackson, Ainsley Lucky and lately Vitti Furlonge-Kelly.

Green said one case would be selected from the 109 for prosecution, and since the rest arose from similar transactions, it would be used as a test case to determine how the rest are to be treated. Green said March would be a convenient time to start.

Boodram and Arjoonsingh are expected to return to court on January 30.

Boodram has 20 similar cases pending in the Port of Spain court and two in Siparia.

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