Former Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister, Anil Nandlall is concerned about possibly standing trial by ambush in light of the prosecution’s failure to equip him with the full details of his charge regarding what is now popularly known as the case of the “missing law books”.
More than one month has elapsed since the parliamentarian was charged by the controversial Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) and the special prosecutor, Patrice Henry is yet to present full statements to the defence team.
Nandlall was charged with fraudulently converting to his own use and benefit, 14 Commonwealth Law Reports, valued at $2.3 million, which he allegedly unlawfully retained after demitting office in 2015 – an allegation which he has repeatedly denied, even presenting correspondence to validate the claims that the books belong to him and not the State.
Nandlall, an executive member of the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP), is extremely worried of standing an unfair trial in light of the prosecution’s lack of commitment to submit the necessary statements.
“Fairness and due process and statutory provisions in our criminal law oblige the prosecution to provide the defence with statements of witnesses that they intend to rely upon before the trial begins because an accused person is generally entitled to know the case he has to meet,” he told reporters today (June 8, 2017).
He posited that, in the absence of these statements, the trial can be never-ending as the prosecutor can subsequently introduce statements that did not form part of the initial basis for the charge.
Nandlall said the delay in submitting the statements raises suspicion and “can lead to the unfortunate inference that something sinister is afoot”.
The commencement of the trial is scheduled for June 20, 2017.
Nandlall is hopeful that the prosecution submits the full statements before then so that his lawyers can prepare a strong defence.