Monday, July 17, 2006
Trinidad and Tobago Chief Justice Satnarine Sharma has been charged with attempting to influence the recent trial of former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday. Chief Magistrate Sherman McNicolls revealed that he was being pressured by the Chief Justice Sharma to rule in favour of Mr Panday who was being tried for failing to declare a London bank account he held with his wife while in office. Mr Panday who was sentenced by the Chief Magistrate to two years in prison, has since appealed the conviction and is out on bail. Attempts to arrest the Chief Justice, however, were thwarted by a High Court ruling from Justice Judith Jones that granted an injunction barring the police from instituting criminal proceedings against the Chief Justice. Police attorney Israel Kahn is challenging the decision. The attorney has clearly stated that The Chief Justice is not above the law and cannot be protected from criminal prosecution by a court order. The charge is a "very serious offence which carries the maximum penalty of life imprisonment"