Privy Council rules against Chief Justice

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, November 30, 2006 – The Trinidad radio station i95.5 FM is reporting that the British Privy Council has paved the way for Chief Justice Satnarine Sharma to be arrested and charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice.

The radio station said the judgement was handed down this morning.

Journalists are right now gathered outside Sharma’s Fairways, Maraval home and the Police Fraud Squad office where he is expected to surrender himself, hear the charges laid against him in the presence of his attorneys and immediately apply for bail.

Justice Sharma went to the Privy Council challenging attempts by the police and the Deputy Director of public prosecutions earlier this year, to arrest him.

Mr. Sharma is accused of trying to pervert the course of public justice while in office.

His lawyers took the matter to the highest appellette court hoping to overturn.

A decision by the court of appeal in Trinidad and Tobago to lift five injunctions, which barred his arrest.

The Chief Justice was represented by British Attorney Andrew mitchell q.c. and Rajiv Persad, while the state’s team is led by Douglas Mendes S.C., Stuart Young and Ian Benjamin.

Deputy DPP Carla Brown Antoine was in London as the main defendant in the matter.

Mr Sharma has been accused of trying to influence the outcome of a the integrity matter involving former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday.

Mr Panday was subsequently convicted and sentenced to jail for failing to declare a London Bank Account while he was Prime Minister.

Allegations that the chief justice sought to interfere were made by chief magistrate Sherman Mc Nicolls.

Mr Sharma has denied any wrongdoing.

Source: Lance Mottley, i95.5 fm