Justice Stanley John: File will help my investigation

Retired judge Stanley John.
Retired judge Stanley John.

THE once disappeared, now resurfaced court file which is at the centre of a $20m controversy, is a key piece of the puzzle retired Appeal Court judge Stanley John has been tasked by Government to solve.

John was hired by Attorney General Reginald Armour, SC, to get to the bottom of the disappearance of the Vindra Naipaul-Coolman case file, which led to the State failing to enter a defence against a malicious prosecution lawsuit filed by nine men acquitted of the charge of murdering businesswoman Naipaul-Coolman.

With no defence to consider, the courts ruled in favour of the nine, and a High Court Master assessed the claim and awarded over $20 million to the former murder accused.

The mystery deepened when what was once lost, was somehow mysteriously found, when the Government issued a press alert Monday night saying the Naipaul-Coolman file was found and handed over to acting Solicitor General Karleen Seenath earlier that day. For his part, Justice John is pressing ahead.

Contacted for comment on Tuesday, the experienced jurist said the file is a head start for his investigation.

“This has now created a situation in which we now have a head start, so we at least know where to start,” John said.

Armour has is blaming the disappearance of the case file for the State failing to defend the malicious prosecution lawsuit brought by the accused men's attorney Anand Ramlogan, SC.

Responding to questions from Opposition Senator Wade Mark, on the re-emergence of the file, during the sitting of the Senate on Tuesday, AG Armour said he will not be answering Mark's questions claiming the matter is still being investigated.

"That is for the investigation team to investigate and report on in due course. There is nothing to clarify. The subject of the reappearance and whoever handed over the file, or located it, continues to be part of Justice John’s investigation on which he will report in due course,” Armour told the Senate.

On Tuesday, John said he could not go into detail about where the file was found and who found it. His investigation team, he said, is not yet completed as the two people he wants (a secretary and another investigator) have not yet consented to being on the team, but he expects this to change soon.

He promised an update by this weekend.

John said while he does not have the power to compel people to speak with him and his team, there are ways to address this. The team has no power to summon anyone to assist or otherwise insist they co-operate.

John was given his instruments of appointment last Friday, two days after Armour promised the file's disappearance will be thoroughly investigated.

John has promised an unbiased investigation and will, “let the chips fall where they may.”

In addition to Justice John's investigation, AG Armour has also retained another retired judge, Justice Rolston Nelson to advise on the way forward and whether or not an appeal can be lodged against the $20m compensation award.


"Justice Stanley John: File will help my investigation"

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