ATTORNEY General Faris Al-Rawi has declared his bias in a witness-tampering case against former AG Anand Ramlogan.
Al-Rawi said for that reason he wanted to steer clear of any controversy arising, as he was a witness in the case.
“I am conflicted. I am a witness in the matter, and I will simply refer to the facts,” said Al-Rawi, who has found himself in some hot water with both the magistrate and Ramlogan’s attorney.
During a case-management conference on Tuesday, Chief Magistrate Maria Busby Earle-Caddle is reported to have expressed surprise that the AG had announced the date for the start of the case. Ramlogan’s lead attorney, Pamela Elder, SC, also complained about the prejudicial effects the AG’s statements could have and asked for an apology for what she termed “false and misleading” statements.
In response to a question from Newsday, after the illumination of Independence Avenue, San Fernando, on Wednesday evening, Al-Rawi sought to clarify the context in which he made certain statements.
He recalled a news conference he called on April 1, 2019, “primarily to deal with the untruths told by Mr Clayton (British QC Richard Clayton) after he asked Mr Ramlogan certain questions whilst he appeared at the Privy Council in March 2019.”
At that news conference Al-Rawi said he reminded the country that Ramlogan is the same person who is under a criminal investigation and charge. “I also informed that as AG, I was asked to admit Mr Edwards Jenkins, QC, to the Bar for the purpose of the misbehaviour in public office charge against Mr Ramlogan, and that case was scheduled for April 9, 2019.”
He said the police called him that same day to sign a statement, “and I informed (the news conference) I was going to the TTPS to sign a witness statement right after the press conference.”
He said the case was called and reported in the Daily Express with a headline that was totally different from the article and based mainly on the statements of Elder on behalf of her client.
To Elder’s request for an apology, Al-Rawi said, “Mrs Elder is a wonderful advocate and a very experienced attorney doing the best for her client. Her client, Mr Ramlogan, deserves his day in court to vindicate himself or to be convicted.
“I make no pronouncements in the matter. I am a witness in the matter, so obviously I clearly have a biased point of view in terms of the witness evidence. So it would be inappropriate of me to cast an aspersion against Mr Ramlogan wearing the hat as AG. I don’t want to do that because I am conflicted, I am a witness in matter.
“I declare that openly, that’s why I simply refer you to the facts.”
Ramlogan was charged in 2017 with perverting the course of public justice and misbehaviour in public office after Police Complaints Authority director David West reported to the police that Ramlogan asked him to withdraw a witness statement in return for his selection for the job of PCA head.