A formal charge against Jamaican-born British Queen’s Counsel Vincent Nelson has been filed in the High Court.
Newsday understands formal charging documents were filed by the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions last week, which includes Nelson’s plea agreement with the prosecution and his witness statement.
No date has been set for his plea agreement hearing at which time he will formally plead guilty to his role in an alleged conspiracy with former attorney general Anand Ramlogan and former UNC senator Gerald Ramdeen in connection with a series of financial transactions and alleged rewards involving legal fees paid to him for representation in state briefs, which he obtained while Ramlogan was attorney general.
Nelson appeared in the Port of Spain Magistrates’ Court last Thursday on the three charges of conspiring to commit money laundering, misbehaviour in public office and conspiracy to commit an act of corruption.
At that hearing, DPP Roger Gaspard, SC, asked that the matter be transferred to the High Court in accordance with provisions of the recently-proclaimed Criminal Procedure (Plea Discussion and Plea Agreement) Act.
Gaspard said the prosecution has complied with all requirements under the Act to facilitate transfer of the matter to the High Court, including filing of statements, the draft indictment on the committal proceedings and the plea agreement. He also said Nelson had voluntarily agreed to the terms of the agreement and wanted to plead guilty to the charges against him.
After hearing submissions on the transfer of the case, Chief Magistrate Maria Busby Earle-Caddle granted the application and said all the documents filed in the matter would be sent to the High Court in 14 days.
She did so before the expiry of the 14 days.
Nelson is on $100,000 cash bail and has been allowed to leave the country until he is needed for his next court hearing.
One day after he appeared in court, Ramlogan and Ramdeen also appeared in court to answer to similar charges relating to the alleged legal fees kickback conspiracy.
They are on $1.2 million and $1.5 million bail respectively and will return to court for a case management hearing next month.
The two were jointly charged with conspiracy to contravene section three of the Prevention of Corruption act; conspiracy to contravene section 45 of the Act and conspiracy to misbehave in public office.