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Lawyers fight for Panday's freedom
In Response To: Basdeo Panday found Guilty ()


Lawyers for convicted Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday will go to Port-of-Spain High Court today, where they are expected to appeal the decision handed down yesterday by Chief Magistrate Sherman McNicolls.

McNicolls found the former prime minister guilty on all three counts of failing to declare a London bank account to the Integrity Commission for the years 1997, ’98 and ’99, contrary to Section 27 (1)(b) of the Integrity in Public Life Act, 1987.

Panday was remanded into the custody of the T&T Prisons Service, after being sentenced to a term of two years' imprisonment with hard labour. He was eventually taken to the Maximum Security Prison in Arouca.

He was also ordered to pay more than $1.8 million to the State.

The defence team made an application yesterday to go before a judge in chambers for bail, after McNicolls denied the 72-year-old politician bail, pending the outcome of the appeal.

Friday is the day normally set aside for such applications, unless the case is deemed an emergency and an earlier date is given.

Until then, the UNC political leader will spend the next few days in jail until his lawyers can secure his bail.

Panday was slapped with the maximum sentence as allowed by the statute—a two-year hard labour imprisonment term on each of the three counts, and a $20,000 fine on each charge.

He will, however, serve only two years, as the sentences are to run concurrently.

He was also ordered to forfeit to the State the equivalent of £159,600.35, the total accumulated year-end balances in the Nat West London bank account for the three-year period in question.

For the year 1997, he is to forfeit £11,814.72; for 1998 £37,033.55 and for 1999 £110,752.08.

The forfeiture was ordered after lead prosecutor British Queen's Counsel Sir Timothy Cassel quoted an excerpt from the integrity statute, which stated that any sum outside of Trinidad and Tobago which is not declared to the commission be forfeited to the State.

Panday is the first former prime minister to be convicted of a crime.

It is an ironic situation for the politician, who refused to take bail last June, after he was granted bail in $750,000.

On that occasion, he was charged with a bribery offence alongside his wife Oma, former UNC minister Carlos John and UNC financier Ishwar Galbaransingh.

Panday’s defence team comprised Senior Counsel Desmond Allum and Fyard Hosein, and juniors Rajiv Persad and Devesh Maharaj.

For the prosecution, Cassel led Wayne Rajbansie.

©2005-2006 Trinidad Publishing Company Limited

Messages In This Thread

Basdeo Panday found Guilty
Uncertainty over Panday's post in the House
Lawyers fight for Panday's freedom
Trinidad and Tobago News

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