“[…] What the Honourable Minister was doing was violating and interfering in the Judicial process by conducting a trial in the public and convicting my daughter in the court of public opinion and therefore prematurely and pre-emptively interfering with the judicial process by creating public prejudice and condemning my daughter to eternal damnation and depriving her of her constitutional right of a fair hearing…
“[…] I deeply regret and apologise to all of you for my conduct—but which, in my view, was necessary, requisite, appropriate and proportionate and commensurate with the gravity of the then prevailing circumstances so as to bring closure to this matter…”
The following 2,218 word release by attorney-at-law Odai NS Ramischand is a follow-up to his legal threat to Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh for publicly rebuking his daughter, Samantha Ramischand, for a possible violation of the public health ordinance:
Hello everyone. Honourable Minister of Health vs Samantha Ramischand.
My Apologies to All.
As you all are aware I had to unavoidably intervene in the matter of my daughter Samantha vis-à-vis the Honourable Minister of Health Mr Terrence Deyalsingh.
I am not and was never representing my daughter’s interest as an Attorney-at-Law. She has a team of lawyers representing her and I am not on that team. I was acting in my capacity as an Independent Attorney-at-Law and Samantha’s father.
As an Attorney-at-Law I am an Officer of the Courts and Judiciary of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. In that capacity I have a duty and a responsibility under the Legal Profession Act to ensure no one, including ministers of the government, do not disparage, pollute or contaminate the Judicial process or bring the courts and the judiciary into disrepute.
What the Honourable Minister was doing was violating and interfering in the Judicial process by conducting a trial in the public and convicting my daughter in the court of public opinion and therefore prematurely and pre-emptively interfering with the judicial process by creating public prejudice and condemning my daughter to eternal damnation and depriving her of her constitutional right of a fair hearing by an impartial tribunal or court in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice and the right to be presumed innocent until otherwise found in accordance with the judicial process.
These are all fundamental rights enshrined, guaranteed and protected by the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago.
Anyone with any doubt on this can access the following cases online:
1) Privy Council Judgement in the case of the Attorney General and Another vs Whiteman – The judgement of Lord Keith of Kinkel (1990) 39 West Indian Law Reports, page 397.
2) Civil Appeal: Attorney General and Another vs Whiteman – The Judgement of Justice Jim Davis (supra). Please be reminded that our highest Court is the Privy Council and then the Court of Appeal.
3) CV 2016-00691: Wilt Vincent vs The Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago – Judgement of Justice Andre des Vignes (as he then was).
4) CV 2016-0074: Jason Giles vs The Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago – Judgement of Justice Rahim.
All of these judgements are online. I have to find out from my staff if these judgements can be posted on Facebook or otherwise be provided to the people of Trinidad and Tobago for your respective edification and guidance in the future so that neither anyone of you nor ministers of government would repeat what transpired recently.
I filed submissions similar to these judgements in a High Court case CV 2019-04182: Kerron Peterson v The Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago.
These submissions were filed this week on Tuesday the 15th of September, 2020. This case is before Justice Joan Charles and because of the pendency of its determination it is therefore subjudice and I cannot disclose submissions to the public, otherwise I would be repeating the mistakes that the Honourable Minister of Health Mr Deyalsingh made, that is, pre-emptively and prematurely interfering in the judicial process and likely prejudice created or caused thereby.
Most people have not yet realised how serious the error and or mistakes, either by inadvertence, unconsciously, subconsciously or otherwise and the consequences thereof, that were made by the Honourable Minister Terrence Deyalsingh. He was bordering on or may have committed contempt of court if Samantha is now charged. The consequences are, but not limited to, the following:
I. Violation of Samantha’s rights to be presumed innocent until proven guilty at a trial before an independent and impartial tribunal/court.
II. A fair trial before an independent court in accordance with due process of law and the principles of fundamental justice.
III. Violation of natural justice provisions in the constitution and the audi alterem partem rule.
IV. Denial of the right to retain and consult with counsel of her choice (NB the minister, in effect, by his words described Samantha as ‘the worst’ of her peers).
V. Denial of the protection of the law against self-incrimination.
VI. Denial of the principles of fairness as provided for in the common law principles and protection of the law against arbitrary detention, imprisonment and conduct as provided, enshrined and protected under the constitution.
VII. Possibly and more likely than not, stay of prosecution of any offences Samantha may be charged for or with emanating from, relating to, or in any way to be inferred from or likely consequences of comments made by the honourable minister. This is because of what is called in law ‘prejudice’ or ‘bias’ which may be perceived, unconscious, sub-conscious, likely, actual or implied. I recently wrote what I would call a thesis on the law of bias in a case that was in the Court of Appeal of Trinidad and Tobago and the Privy Council and the names of the parties and the intituling (heading) of the case I am constrained, constricted and restricted from disclosing on the ground of confidentiality between client and attorney privilege.
VIII. The denial of the right to a public hearing before an Independent and Impartial Tribunal commonly referred to as ‘open justice’. This concept of open justice received affirmation and confirmation by the Privy Council in the case of Trinidad Publishing Group Limited (Ken Ali and Sharmaine Baboolal) vs The Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago and the Director of Public Prosecution.
I was the attorney-at-law for the plaintiffs/claimants/appellants and which arose out of an order made by Justice Lionel Jones during the Dole Chadee and Others trial in Chaguaramas. In this case, Justice Jones made an order prohibiting the print and electronic media from publishing anything about an accused who became a state witness but then made a further order prohibiting the print and electronic media from publishing that he had made the previous (or first) order.
In other words, the public would not know anything about what was about to take place resulting in the execution (hanging) of Dole Chadee and all of his co-accused save and except the accused who became state witness. The Mirror Newspaper published an article suggesting or insinuating or hinting or to be presumed inferentially what Justice Jones had done. In other words, a trial in secret ‘Kangaroo Court’ style and model.
Ken Ali and Sharmaine Baboolal were jailed and fined respectively by Justice Jones. I took this matter all the way to the Privy Council and we won. This was in 2004. I researched cases all the way from the 19th century and especially as the law stood or was in 1825. Emanating and resulting from this case, or rather, the Judgement confirmed or created (depending on one’s interpretation of the law) the concept or principles of Open Justice.
The Judgement of the Privy Council is reported in the Commonwealth Law Reports, the All England Law Reports, The Weekly Law Reports, The West Indies Law Reports and may be accessible online depending on which site you have access to.
IX. If Samantha is charged, the presiding magistrate can issue a summons for the honourable minister to appear in that court and called upon to show cause why he should not be committed to prison for contempt of court.
X. Samantha or any other person or the Police or the Director of Public Prosecution can lay or cause to be laid charges against the honourable minister on complaint for the following criminal offences:
a. Misconduct or misbehaviour in Public Office.
b. Interference in the fair and impartial dispensation of Justice in accordance with the law.
c. Perverting the course of Public Justice.
So in all the circumstances, it was not a frivolous or trivial or minor or of little consequential effect when I intervened. I did so because of the tenacity and superfluousness of the honourable minister’s remarks and his condemnation of my daughter as ‘the worst’ of her peers.
I have no doubt in my mind that the honourable minister has now become aware either in hindsight or on receiving advice of the pith and substance and gravamen of my complaint being commensurate with and proportionate to the gravity and seriousness of his comments and the consequences thereof as herein adverted to and adumbrated.
People have called upon me to withdraw the profanity.
To do so will be otiose. The consequences and effects and the purport and tenor of the comments of the honourable minister required, necessitated and precipitated my use of the obscenity.
I am now contrite and I now express my remorse and sincere apologies to the Honourable Minister of Health and all the members of his family, all government ministers, all Parliamentarians, our noble and dexterous Commissioner of Police Mr Gary Griffith and commend him for the exhibition of his high level of moral rectitude in dealing with political and police matters, to all police officers and to all manner of men and women (I mean including all LGBTQ and others as I do not know their specific designation or description in law) and to all of the people of Trinidad and Tobago and to all to whom my obscenity may have been published to or come to the notice and their attention.
I deeply regret and apologise to all of you for my conduct—but which, in my view, was necessary, requisite, appropriate and proportionate and commensurate with the gravity of the then prevailing circumstances so as to bring closure to this matter.
If Samantha is to be charged, so be it. It is the police who has the power, authority and jurisdiction in the matter at this time and let the streams, courses of justice flow and the wheels of justice turn unhindered, unimpeded and without interference within and without our jurisdiction.
Let the sanctity and purity and flawlessness of justice prevail and let no man think he/she is beyond and or above the law. Please, no one can or should be permitted or allowed to interfere with or pollute or contaminate the dispensation of Justice in accordance with the law.
If Samantha knowingly and actively violated the law she, as everyone else, should be charged and face the consequences. I seek no favours and I beg no quarters.
And to our efficient and hardworking and respectful Honourable Minister of Health and his family, I am sorry for any hurt, pain, embarrassment and or anguish that may have been occasioned, precipitated or caused by the expletive I used and published. Once again I am sorry and I regret it. I shall personally attend upon you, Mr Minster, to humbly apologise and give you an elbow, rather than a handshake, which no doubt, will occasion a further warning or reprimand from you.
And let me not mix matters but simply congratulate and thank the Honourable Minister Mr Deyalsingh for all the hard work and his immense services to this country and to the people of Trinidad and Tobago. Thank you, Honourable Minister.
Now to all the troubles and agony I have caused and occasioned to all of those who expressed disgust and some disdain for my grammar and punctuation in my post. I only recently started using Facebook, I had a carpal tunnel surgery to my left hand and I have lost some use of my fingers which are insensate and numb. The use of same will return in very early course.
Look, I am writing this article with an ink or fountain pen. I have a large collection of these pens in a box and I only write with these pens. I only use a ballpoint pen when it cannot be eschewed or is unavoidable.
If anyone of you want to know my competence in the English language, grammar or punctuation or my oratory and advocacy skills or articulateness, you can contact all my junior or associate attorneys-at-law, past and present members of my staff and lawyers opposed to me in cases.
I cannot say judges, otherwise I will fall into error like the honourable minister did. Simply put, if a comma, full stop, colon, semi-colon, etc, is missing I do not sign, execute and or approve documents, letters or anything else in my personal life or in my practice even if you have to reprint same a million times.
Judge my quality and standard by what I know best: Drafting and preparation of legal documents and my skills, dexterity, moral rectitude, and pugnacity in the prosecution of my clients’ cases or their defences.
Herein contained and adumbrated is my quality and standard of work and not that on Facebook.
I am a novice at IT, smart phones and computers. I have no reservations in admitting my shortcomings. But in the practice of law, I will take on anyone from anywhere in the world.
Never forget I was the Lawyer who represented Lolita Saroop when extradition re-commenced in Trinidad and Tobago, then George Arthur Stokes, a British citizen, then Zimmerman Beharry (Shortman) and Roger Khan (Guyanese).
My knowledge of the law is vast and please don’t challenge me on same. I promise you that you will regret it.
All the best, thank you all and once again my apologies.
I Rest My Case.