Basdeo Panday Granted Bail
Posted: Saturday, April 29, 2006
April 29, 2006
Former Prime Minister and Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday was granted bail in the sum of $300,000.00. Mr. Panday was not considered a flight risk, so the court allowed the UNC CEO, Dr. Tim Gopeesingh and his wife Camini, to stand surety - pending the determination of the appeals.
Mr. Panday's daughter Mikela was relieved and there was a general joy among the supporters in the court.
Dr. Rasheed Rahaman testified at the High Court giving details of Mr. Basdeo Panday's current health condition. He stated that Mr. Panday could die at any moment given his current health condition. This is what convinced Justice Anthony Carmona to grant Mr. Panday bail pending his appeal.
The prison service came under heavy criticism for not being able to properly treat its inmates with serious medical problems.
The three grounds for bail that were put forward by Mr. Panday's defense team:
Mr. Panday had a likely chance of winning his appeal and therefore, should be let out on bail.
Mr. Panday was likely to serve his sentence before his appeal was heard, thus making him a prisoner unfairly.
Mr. Panday's special medical condition warranted him being out on bail, since he could not be properly treated behind bars.
Justice Carmona stated he was not convinced that Mr. Panday would win his appeal, thus ruling out the first grounds for granting him bail. He however agreed that there was a risk that Mr. Panday could have served his time before his appeal was heard. This was not the grounds that he chose to grant the bail.
His basis for granting Mr. Panday's bail was on his inability to be adequately treated in the prison system. This was Justice Carmona's findings:
"Mr. Panday cannot access the constant medical attention, drugs and monitoring he needs from a trained cardiologist in prison, given the fact that he is a heart patient that also suffers from diabetes.
He could suffer a sudden heart attack despite receiving extensive medication."
Defense Council Desmond Allum admitted that the medical condition of Mr. Panday was not presented to Chief Magistrate Sherman Mc Nicolls, therefore he did not have that information when considering the granting of bail to Mr. Panday.
Justice Carmona said that he was deeply disturbed by the failings of the prison system. He stated that in cases like Mr. Panday's, time is of the essence if he gets a heart attack. He stressed that while the offence Mr. Panday was convicted of is very serious, because of his medical condition, keeping Mr. Panday in jail means the state ran the risk of imposing a death sentence on him.
Mr. Panday's extreme medical condition falls in the ballpark of special circumstances under which he could overturn the magistrate's decision. Although he said he agreed with Mr. Allum's submission, that the sentence was too harsh in the first place, he stressed that Chief Magistrate Sherman Mc Nicolls should not be blamed for this, since he did not have the medical evidence when sentencing Mr. Panday.
The DPP declined comment on whether the state will appeal this decision. Mr. Panday was released from the Golden Grove Prison shortly after 6:30pm today. On his release, he stated he had confidence in his attorneys.
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