BIOGRAPHY OF JUSTICE CARMONA
Tuesday, February 5 2013
Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona was born in Fyzabad on March 7, 1953. A Roman Catholic, he is married to Reema Carmona, and is a father of two.
Carmona attended Presentation College, San Fernando. He holds degrees in: English (special honours) and international law and politics, both from the University of the West Indies (UWI). He taught language and linguistics at the UWI from 1981 to 1983. Later, he returned to UWI to be a senior tutor in politics in the Department of Government for approximately four years. He was also a teacher at: the Palo Seco Government Secondary School, the Fyzabad Anglican Secondary School, as well as at St Hughs High School and Merle Grove High School, Kingston, Jamaica.
In 1983, Carmona was admitted to practise at the Bar of Trinidad and Tobago after training at Hugh Wooding Law School.
He became a High Court judge — he is the seventh senior High Court judge — in 2004, serving in the criminal division. His tenure on the Bench has been marked by his outspokenness.
Most recently, Carmona presided over the murder trial in which Marlon King was convicted of killing his stepdaughter, Amy Annamunthodo.
In May 2008, Carmona had no choice but to order a retrial of the man accused of murdering Melissa Akong and severing the leg of her sister Sue-Mara, after it emerged that Carmona was a distant relative of the two women.
“The stream of justice must remain unsullied. This is a capital charge that can attract the ultimate sanction of the death penalty. This court will not sacrifice fairness on the alter of expediency,” Carmona said before discharging the jury, and ordering a retrial.
In 2006, Carmona was the judge assigned to hear a bail application filed on behalf of former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday. He granted Panday bail pending an appeal of a conviction — since quashed — at the Court of Appeal.
“Mr Panday cannot access, in prison, the constant medical attention, drugs and monitoring he needs from a trained cardiologist, given the fact that he is a heart patient that also suffers from diabetes. He could suffer a sudden heart attack despite receiving extensive medication,” Carmona ruled.
Before serving as a judge, Carmona served as a prosecutor at both the national and international levels for some 21 years.
He worked at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Trinidad and Tobago, from 1983 to 2000, where he attained the posts of Assistant DPP, Deputy DPP, and also served as Acting DPP.
Among his more notable cases in relation to this role are the first successful prosecution in the British Commonwealth of Senior Magistrate Patrick Jagessar for corruption and the first successful prosecution at Court of Appeal of Farouk Ali, a Justice of the Peace, for corruption.
From 2001 to 2004, Carmona held the post of Appeals Counsel in the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
In this capacity, he successfully prosecuted appeals of persons convicted of crimes within the jurisdiction of the Tribunals, namely generals, camp commanders, soldiers and politicians. At the ICTY, he served as Vice-President of the Staff Union and represented UN personnel in disciplinary proceedings before the United Nations Administrative Tribunal, New York.
Long before his appointment to the International Criminal Court (ICC), Carmona served as a Legal Adviser in criminal law to President Arthur NR Robinson on issues relating to the ICC and participated in meetings of the Preparatory Committee on the establishment of the ICC.
Carmona was also previously a member of the Cabinet-appointed Legislative Review Committee (representing the Office of the DPP). In this capacity, he participated in the formulating and vetting of the Criminal Procedure (Plea Agreement) Bill; Criminal Injuries Compensation Bill, Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill, DNA Bill; Indictable Offences (Preliminary Enquiry) Bill, Dangerous Drugs Bill; Proceeds of Crime Bill; the Central Authority and Counter-Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering Task Force Bill; Bail Act; Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill, International Criminal Court Statute and all criminal legislation.
Carmona also advised the Ministry of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on international/regional conventions and treaties.
He also gave service in relation to the National Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programme. He was appointed a one-man Disciplinary Tribunal into alleged misconduct of senior civil servants.
In 2000, the status of Senior Coun-
sel (“Silk”) was conferred upon Carmona, four years before he became a judge.