State witness sues DPP over plea deal

Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard,SC. -
Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard,SC. -

A woman police constable who agreed to turn state witness against six of her colleagues is now suing the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for failing to continue plea discussions with her for financial support after the trial.

She also wants arrangements to be made for her family to leave the country.

The officer, who is on suspension, turned state witness in 2012 after she and the others had been charged with the murder of three people.

The criminal trial is yet to begin but those officers still facing the murder charge have applied for bail pending the start of the case which will be heard in the San Fernando High Court.

In her lawsuit, the police officer said she entered a plea agreement with then ACP Raymond Craig for her to plead guilty to conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in exchange for the discontinuance of the three murder charges against her.

She also agreed to testify at the trial.

Plea discussions continued between the officer’s attorneys and DPP Roger Gaspard, SC. However, she says the plea agreement did not make provision for her family to emigrate when the trial was over and she gave her evidence. She said this had been discussed in the negotiations of the terms of the agreement and had been assured it would be incorporated into any final deal.

She also says it was agreed that a non-custodial sentence would be recommended by the DPP when she pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge.

Her lawsuit says assurances were given that discussions would continue and a further agreement would be entered and it was on this basis she executed the agreement.

An indictment was filed against her in 2018, and the matter came up before a High Court master but the police officer complained that several aspects of the plea deal were not completed although she was prepared to plead guilty.

She said her attorneys had written the DPP several times, the last being April 2021, but there has been no response from him. Her matter comes up again before the master on July 20.

Her judicial review claim says the proceedings against her have been stalled for two years pending the DPP’s response to her requests to engage in plea discussions and execute a further plea deal in keeping with the promises made to her.

Her complaints are that the State has failed to perform a statutory duty and this failure was unlawful, irrational and procedurally unfair. She also complains she had been deprived of a legitimate expectation.

The officer was granted permission to pursue her judicial review and constitutional claim against the DPP and the Attorney General. Leave to apply was granted by Justice Margaret Mohammed on June 13. The matter will again come up for hearing before Mohammed on September 23.

The police officer is currently in the custody of the Justice Protection Programme. She is represented by attorneys Michael Rooplal, Kristy Mohan and Vishan Girwar.


"State witness sues DPP over plea deal"

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