Acting T&T AG: Some lawyers helping gang members

Stuart Young

(Trinidad Guardian) Acting Attorney General Stuart Young has accused some lawyers of facilitating gang members and their illegal activities as he called on the police to act expeditiously to bring these lawyers before the courts in handcuffs.

Young made the statement on Saturday in Parliament while going through the list of amendments made in the Senate on the Anti-Gang Bill.

As a member of the bar for the past 20 years, Young said he was “saddened to learn” that there are currently people at the bar and who practice in our criminal courts as attorneys “have been facilitating gang members and gang activity.”

He said these attorneys have been participating in illegal communication with their clients “in running their empires.”

Some of these incarcerated gang members, Young said, “It appears they may be assisted by certain members of the bar and in particular at the criminal bar in continuing the conduct of what got them incarcerated in the first place.”

Young made his statement without fear of contradiction, stating that Clause 15 of the bill deals specifically with that issue.

Clause 15 under the headline “tipping off” subsection (3) states that it makes an offence for a professional legal adviser to disclose any information or other matter (a) to, or to a representative of, a client of his in connection with the giving by the adviser of legal advice to the client, or (b) to any person (i) in contemplation of, or in connection with, legal proceedings.

Young called on law enforcement officers, who have been dealing with the situation, to “bring them to justice and let us see these lawyers marching to court in their handcuffs one day.”

San Juan/Barataria MP Dr Fuad Khan inquired from Young if he had evidence to back up his claim, and if so, the matter should be reported to the police.

Young said he was cautious in what he said and there was evidence to back up his statement, stating that law enforcement officers are aware of the situation.

Opposition MP Dr Roodal Moonilal said Young’s revelation could not have come from the Police Service since there was a line drawn in the sand between politicians and police officers.

He said if Young obtained the information from the National Security Council such details should not come out in the public domain.

“Where else you would get this information from unless a lawyer confessed to you? So now you are saying, if I heard the member correctly a whistleblower…whistleblow this to him. And he stands on that evidence of the whistleblower.”

Moonilal said Government ministers should be careful in using whistleblower information and Young should be responsible in his statements and not reckless.

“We cannot cross that line where politicians get information on sensitive investigations, undertaken by the police…you ought not to receive that information…you ought not to use it,” Moonilal said.

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