AG and minister are not suspects
PORT OF SPAIN — Pamela Elder, SC, lawyer for Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and Minister of Local Government and Works and Infrastructure Suruj Rambachan, says her clients are not suspects in the e-mail probe and therefore had a right to refuse to submit their electronic devices to the police.
On Tuesday, Ramlogan and Rambachan opted not to hand over their computers and other devices, saying they feared a breach of their constitutional right to privacy.
In representing their clients, Elder and attorney Larry Lalla met with investigators at the Police Administration Building in Port-of-Spain on Tuesday for almost three hours. During the meeting with police investigators, Lalla, a former high court judge, and Elder expressed concern that digital evidence might be compromised by accidents or alterations which could affect the conclusion of the probe.
Elder said yesterday that because her clients were voluntarily assisting the police, they were not obligated to hand over their computers, cellphones or any other electronic devices the police might ask for.
“If the person is a suspect, then different principles would apply,” said Elder. “If you are merely assisting the police in an investigation, then in that case different principles would obviously apply.
“Not because an allegation is made it automatically falls within the terminology of ‘suspect.’ For example, if an anonymous letter is written making allegations against X, would X become a suspect?” Maintaining that her clients were not suspected of wrongdoing, Elder said there was also no “reasonable cause” to believe that either Ramlogan or Rambachan was guilty.
She said there was also no basis for a search warrant to be issued so that the police could seize what they requested.
“It has to be made clear my clients are not suspected of any wrongdoing,” Elder said. “All we have is a typewritten document which is equivalent to an anonymous letter, so there would be no basis for a warrant… That would be wrong and oppressive.” (Guardian)