DPP tells ‘office holders’ back off

By Anika Gumbs-Sandiford
September 18, 2011 – guardian.co.tt

Director of Public Prosecutions Roger GaspardBack off! This is the strong message being sent by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard to “office holders” regarding the arrest of citizens under the state of emergency. Warning that he would “continue to jealously guard his office at all cost,” Gaspard, in an exclusive interview with Sunday Guardian, said his office would continue to act independently. On the Attorney General’s decision to retain a battery of attorneys to assist with the prosecution of matters under the state of emergency, Gaspard said: “No other office holder would be allowed to choose any attorney for me for the prosecution of any matter; that choice remains exclusively mine.” On the issue of the perception of a war between the AG and the DPP, Gaspard said: “I know of no war between the AG and myself. There are no winners in war. I humbly prefer simply to continue to do my work soberly so as to protect and advance the public’s interest.”

Dismissing claims that the release of 21 Nelson Street, Port-of-Spain residents was due to witnesses being afraid to testify, Gaspard said no such statements existed on the file perused by him. “The file that I would have perused involving the 21 men who were subsequently released contained no evidence of gang-related activity since the coming into force of the Anti Gang Act. “Further, I would also have seen two sets of CCTV footage which pertained to incidents prior to the proclamation of the Act. Those incidents could not assist me. “I am not aware of the existence of any such statements. Having perused the file I am not aware that the reason why the State could not go forward with the matters was because of witnesses being afraid to testify.

The DPP added: “When I looked at the file I did not see any statement from any witness who subsequently became afraid to give evidence; the file has nothing about any witnesses being afraid to give evidence. “The reason why the State could not go forward was because of the sheer lack of evidence. I do not know if they have knowledge that I do not have,” an outspoken Gaspard said. Police sources said the file contained statements from the police complainant, an Anti Gang expert, and the Crime and Problem Analysis (CAPA) Police Unit—a department responsible for profiling people detainees.

Pointing out that the Anti Gang Act 2011 came into effect on August 15, Gaspard said people with pending gang-related matters could not be prosecuted for offences prior to the Act being implemented. The timeframe of the CCTV footage released last week was in January and March—approximately five months before the Act was passed. “I saw the video footage before I made my decision. It would have been unfair to allow those persons to remain in custody in those circumstances. It would have amounted to a complete and regrettable abdication of my role as DPP,” Gaspard said.


It was only last week, secretary of the Police Service Social and Welfare Association Sgt Michael Seales claimed that the association received complaints from its members that “questionable instructions” were given by senior officers regarding detention. Describing the questionable instructions as “unacceptable”, Seales said: “Members said they were given instructions to detain and the evidence would come later.”


4 thoughts on “DPP tells ‘office holders’ back off”

  1. Universal Declaration of Human Rights
    Article 7. All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
    Article 9 :-No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.


    Excellent Job on your part, DPP Roger Gaspard . We expect no less from independent civil servants, whose sole task is to always uphold the law as they deem fit, not to carry out directives of the government,waste useful human and financial resources on foolhardy cases, and pushing narrow feel good political agendas ,but ensuring that justice is served. You obviously understand your first duty. The days of 3rd rate DPPs ,such as foreigner Volney ,is over, thank goodness.
    Your strident action in the cause of justice ,should be applauded , nit condemned , as you reminds us of another solid humanist Afrikan leader , located in big brother Norte Americana ,who likewise ,understood where is legal, and moral obligations, resided as well. Not in support of state genocide as played out throughout most of his racially divided country, but justice and fundamental Human Rights for all citizens, but more so the weak, historically maligned , and historical victims , that looked just like him.


    By the way Mr DPP , don’t hesitate to remind your government , led by her majesty ,Queen K , that they are obligated to adhere to globally acceptable norms ,and practices , our country’s founding members ,so wisely, signed on to – if we want to still lay claims, to being ,a democratic country , that is.


    Tell dem that throwing out the baby, and the water, makes no sense, and gets us no where, as far as overall security.
    As a rider , please give us some feedback, if you can ,on how that drug ladened container belonging to some Central businessman bloke is coming along? We are glad to see our customs boys, are finally doing their jobs, under dis PP regime.
    Just wish they were just as committed , and so did such also, under the then ANR government , for think how many containers, ladened with small arms weapons ,would have been confiscated , kept out of the reach of criminals ,and not used in 1990 to … well let dem selectively outraged , closet criminals ,fill in the blanks, eeeehhh?
    Hey Yasin Abu Bakr, do you want to try the same idiot stunt you did in 1990 , with your load ah Islamist criminals , and see how long you would last?
    Ain’t the economic , and social situations the same ?
    There is absolutely nothing more revolting, than a people who allows themselves ,to be used in any fashion ,especially against the interest of their own. Thanks again Mr DPP, for being the exception, and drawing the line in the stand, for equal rights and justice.
    It’s a proud day for the people of T&T, and it would be a sad day if this legal stalwart is suddenly removed because he is not a rump kisser like too many ‘oh dem Judas 30 pieces oh silver ,grabbing ,fake Afrikans,’ we, the socially conscious ,always lament about, dat would eat their own kids, sell their wives, and destroy mama, papa, and grand ma ,for a few dollars more ,and or, paltry power. Call names folks , and we will whistle. Hey Chagurnas, how you going?



  3. Ramlogan: I met with DPP on legal team

    By Geisha Kowlessar
    September 19, 2011 – guardian.co.tt

    Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has shot back at claims of interference in the prosecution of detainees under the state of emergency, asserting that he will never interfere in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). In an interview yesterday, Ramlogan maintained that the decision to prosecute “was and would always remain the DPP’s call.” Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard had told the Sunday Guardian that he would continue to jealously guard his office at all costs, adding that no one would be allowed to chose attorneys for his office. “No other office holder would be allowed to choose any attorney for me for the prosecution for any matter…that choice remains mine exclusively,” he had said.

    Ramlogan, however, yesterday maintained that the creation of the legal team put together two weeks after the state of emergency was declared was done in full consultation with Gaspard and Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs. “The team was selected in consultation and discussion with the DPP who attended the first meeting along with the Police Commissioner where it was made clear to everyone that the role and function of the team is to assist the police,” he said. “I reinforced the fact that the DPP maintained overall control and independence with respect to prosecution in all matters.”

    The AG said he also explained that selection of counsel for any prosecution was a matter for the DPP in his “sole judgment and discretion.” The DPP’s right to select counsel to prosecute criminal matters “has never been an issue,” he added. He said he noted that the DPP made no allegation of any attempt by any public official to select counsel for him.“That said, the attorneys who were selected on the team traditionally have been retained by the DPP to prosecute matters on behalf of the State and that was obviously a relevant consideration in their selection,” Ramlogan said.

    “The purpose of the team is simply to assist in proper case management as we prepare for an avalanche of cases with respect to the state of emergency.” He said the team was also created to provide much-needed logistical and technical support to the hard-working team of in-house lawyers in the Police Service. “The in-house team is very small and simply don’t have the capacity to deal with this volume of cases,” Ramlogan said. Saying the function of the team was not “necessarily to prosecute,” he said proper case preparation was crucial to provide the DPP with sound basis for criminal prosecution.

    According to Ramlogan, there was “no problem” between the offices of the Attorney General and the DPP. “The DPP and I enjoy a very healthy, cordial, pleasant and professional working relationship,” he said. “We meet regularly and have a sense of mutual respect and understanding for each other. “I do not think the DPP has said anything to call that relationship into question.”


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