Two attorneys and a political analyst have expressed mixed views over Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s decision not to speak on the allegations that she alerted Marlene McDonald to the fact that she would have been arrested by police.
Persad-Bissessar told a UNC political meeting on Wednesday that the matter was sub judice, as her reason for not wanting to speak further on the matter.
Attorney Martin George, however, did not agree with Persad-Bissessar’s stance.
“If it is that there has been an ancillary matter raised in relation to the question of the leaking of information and persons being either tipped-off or notified beforehand, to the best of our knowledge as to what is already in the public domain there doesn’t appear to be any legal matter in the courts or before the criminal courts in relation to that, so, one is at pains to understand how that could be considered as sub judice,” George told Guardian Media.
Meanwhile attorney Fareed Ali, expressed a different view.
“It is correct of her in law to sit under the umbrella or the protective covering of sub judice and indicate that I am not commenting on the basis that it is sub judice before the courts. I think she has found, using her legal knowledge, a skilful way of avoiding having to name her source,” Ali said.
He added it will be in her best political interest not to talk on the matter.
But given the politics of the matter, analyst Dr Winford James told Guardian Media the sub judice claim does not work in the favour of the Opposition Leader.
“The Opposition Leader wants to develop a sense of mystery about the issue but the issue is straightforward, somebody must have told her and the question is who told her? Hiding under sub judice doesn’t really help her position. Come out and say who told you, but no politician would do that,” James said.
Since the issue was made public, Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith addressed the matter by saying “it is absolutely impossible that anyone could have made such a statement and be accurate about it because several weeks before there was nothing remotely close to going ahead to confirm any MP was to be arrested.”
McDonald told Guardian Media she had “no doubt” in her mind that the Opposition Leader was speaking the truth and she had no reason to doubt her.
On August 7, an officer of the Fraud Squad swooped down on McDonald’s St Joseph home and executed a search warrant.
Days later McDonald, her long-time companion Michael Carew and three others were slapped with 49 fraud and corruption charges.