JAMAICAN-born, British Queen’s Counsel Vincent Nelson is yet been sentenced for his role in an alleged conspiracy with former attorney general Anand Ramlogan and former UNC senator Gerald Ramdeen. The sentencing hearing has been adjourned to Friday afternoon. The matter is in connection with a series of financial transactions and alleged rewards involving legal fees paid to him for representation in state briefs. The briefs were obtained while Ramlogan was attorney general.
The terms of his plea deal with the State are being kept private and Thursday’s hearing was held in-camera. Only prosecutors from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the police were allowed to remain in the court. The media, defence attorneys and law students were asked to leave after DPP Roger Gaspard,SC, reminded the judge of a previous order granted in June which gave the judge the discretion to hold what would normally be an open-court hearing, in private.
In addressing the judge, Gaspard reminded the judge of his previous order to have the matter held in-camera as well as an application to have the records of the case sealed.
He said in keeping with the order, the proceedings were sealed, and told Holdip, “I see no extant reason to depart from the previous orders.”
“I urge the court to reiterate our core business would be proceeding behind a statutory veil which authorises the court to proceed in-camera,” Gaspard said.
He also said the defence had no objection to the continuation of the orders.
In addressing those in the public gallery, Holdip said ordinarily such matters of sentencing would be held in public, but he agreed with Gaspard’s submissions, and ordered the court to be vacated. After an hour of discussions, all the media were told the matter was adjourned to Friday.
Nelson arrived in TT on Tuesday, and is under heavy police guard.
Earlier, when the matter was first called at 1.08 pm, neither Nelson nor his attorneys were present. Gaspard explained that he was reliably informed that the prisoner was on his way to court, along with his legal team. He assured that “the prisoner is within the jurisdiction,” and pointed out that on the last occasion the matter was set for 1.30 pm. At 1.48 pm, Nelson was brought to the First Criminal Court at the Hall of Justice through the corridor used by police to bring prisoners’ to the courtroom and he sat in the prisoners’ docks.
Nelson’s sentencing comes some six months after he pleaded guilty which was accepted by Holdip on June 6, 2019. The judge also accepted the plea agreement deal struck between Nelson and the State and in accordance with section 26 of the Criminal Procedure (Plea Discussion and Plea Agreement) Act.
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.
He is represented by British QC Tom Allen and local attorney Roger Kawalsingh. Also appearing for the State is Edward Jenkins, QC, and senior prosecutor Mauricia Joseph.