POLICE have obtained statements from British Queen’s Counsel Vincent Nelson, the State’s main witness against former attorney general Anand Ramlogan and former UNC senator Gerald Ramdeen.
The statements are expected to be handed over to the defence by Friday, as ordered by Chief Magistrate Maria Busby Earle-Caddle on Monday.
Both men returned to the Port of Spain Magistrates’ Court for a status hearing of the bribery and corruption case against them.
In September, Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard, SC, told the magistrate the State had encountered some difficulty in getting Nelson’s statements because he was not in the jurisdiction and because of his health status.
He said then that the police might have to travel to the United Kingdom to get them, and intended to file an application under the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act so that the police could travel to the UK.
In response to a concern raised by Ramdeen’s attorney Wayne Sturge and a direct question, senior prosecutor Mauricia Joseph said the statements had been obtained from Nelson.
Sturge asked, if the prosecution had Nelson’s statements, “Why can’t we get it?”
Earle-Caddle directed that they should be disclosed by Friday, and did not entertain a submission by Sturge for sanctions against the State for the late filing of the statements. The statements were originally due to be filed and served by December 31, 2019.
Earle-Caddle also adjourned the matter to April 28 for another status hearing.
The Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act allows a judge, magistrate or the DPP to make requests from agencies and authorities outside the country for help so that the police can travel abroad to get evidence. It also sets out the procedure for making requests.
On June 6, Nelson pleaded guilty to his role in the alleged conspiracy. Nelson, who was indicted on three counts of conspiring to commit money laundering, misbehaviour in public office and conspiracy to commit an act of corruption, agreed to a plea deal. Justice Malcolm Holdip, who is to sentence him on Thursday, accepted the plea agreement in accordance with section 26 of the Criminal Procedure (Plea Discussion and Plea Agreement) Act.
Nelson was granted permission to leave TT and return for the hearing of his case. He is on $100,000 cash bail.
At the time, his attorneys expressed concerns for his safety and said he was in remission from prostate cancer but regularly needed access to his doctors in the US and the UK.
Ramdeen and Ramlogan are charged with conspiring with Nelson to misbehave in public office, to engage in money laundering and to bribe on various dates between October 1, 2010 and September 9, 2015.
Ramlogan is on $1.2 million bail and Ramdeen on $1.5 million.