Saturday 4 April, 2020

Duke's lawyer tells DPP: Caution Top Cop about remarks on current case

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith (left), PSA President Watson Duke (right).

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith (left), PSA President Watson Duke (right).

The attorney representing outgoing Public Services Association (PSA) President Watson Duke, has written to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) asking him to counsel the Police Commissioner on statements he made about his client's ongoing Sedition case.

John Heath raised concern with DPP Roger Gaspard about a comment by Commissioner Gary Griffith as quoted in the Trinidad and Tobago Express, alluding to Duke's charges as follows:

"Do you know what Watson Duke said? He said that if he had to ignite a bomb and detonate the bomb to have his way, he will do so. In what developed country can a man make a statement like that and no action is taken?"

The remark was quoted in an article by Ria Taitt titled, 'Gary slams sedition 'hypocrisy': no politics involved'.

Heath said the assertion could sub judice the pending matter adding that those comments did not form part of the charges read to his client by a Port of Spain Magistrate on August 29.

"The statement attributed to the Commissioner is troubling to say the least. Firstly, the words the Commissioner have attributed to Mr Duke do not form any part of the particulars of the charge that was read to him by the learned magistrate."

The attorney also said he looked at the video of his client and did not hear him utter those words. 

" ...having been shown the video footage and heard the audio, I cannot recall any such words being attributed to Mr Duke. Thirdly, if the words attributed to Mr Duke by Commissioner do not form any part of the particulars of his charge on the one hand and, have been mistakenly attributed to Mr Duke on the other hand, then the Commissioner has committed the very mischief the sub judice rule, for centuries has tried to avoid."

He expressed that Griffith ought to know such comments on a pending matter should not be encouraged or condoned.

As such, Heath pleaded with the DPP to intervene.

"In the circumstances, I ask that your good office seek to give wise counsel to the Commissioner about his infraction so that he may be guided accordingly."


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