AG sues Volney
By JADA LOUTOO Saturday, February 22 2014
ATTORNEY GENERAL Anand Ramlogan is taking former Justice Minister and High Court judge Herbert Volney, to court for defamation. In a claim filed in the Supreme Court yesterday, Ramlogan is alleging his former Cabinet colleague, acting out of malice and motivated by a desire to rehabilitate his own reputation on being fired from Government, made defamatory statements in an internet email blog.
Representing Ramlogan are Avory Sinanan SC, Gerald Ramdeen, Kelvin Ramkissoon and Richard Jagai. In the claim, Ramlogan is seeking damages, aggravated and exemplary, for the libel which was published throughout 2013 on the internet chat forum on Yahoo via firstname.lastname@example.org, which the lawsuit contends belongs to Volney.
According to the claim, the statements made by Volney on the chat forum allege impropriety on Ramlogan’s part in relation to the Section 34 debacle and the former St Joseph MP’s dismissal as well as allege the AG abused his office by coercing Chief Justice Ivor Archie and DPP Roger Gaspard, to join in a conspiracy to get rid of the former minister.
Volney was fired from Cabinet by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on September 20, 2012, for misleading Cabinet and Government in respect of the early proclamation of provisions of the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act 2011 and in particular section 34 and for misinforming, and/or misrepresenting to the Cabinet and the Government the position and views of important stakeholders in the implementation of the legislation, namely the Chief Justice and the Director of Public Prosecutions, the lawsuit stated.
Copies of the blog transcripts as well as the unconfirmed minutes of the Judicial and Justice Sector Committee meeting of July 24, 2012, held in the CJ’s conference room at the Hall of Justice, Port-of-Spain, at which Volney, Gaspard, the CJ among others were present when Archie raised concerns about an early proclamation of section 34, were included as exhibits in support of the AG’s claim.
The libel claim noted that the blog was open to and participated in by the public and statements made by Volney were understood to mean Ramlogan orchestrated a conspiracy to remove him from ministerial office by presenting a false claim against Volney.
The lawsuit also alleged that Volney’s statements suggested the AG was the chief architect of the conspiracy to get rid of him from office; incited the CJ and the DPP to participate in that conspiracy and in so doing was guilty of ‘gross constitutional impropriety in seeking to compromise the office of the CJ and the independence of the judiciary as well as that of the office of the DPP.
The claim further contends that the words uttered by Volney were understood to mean that Ramlogan violated the independence of the judiciary by getting the CJ to conspire with him in fabricating false evidence to procure the former minister’s dismissal
It also alleged that Ramlogan fabricated a case with the support and cooperation of the CJ and the DPP to have Volney removed from office.
The lawsuit also contends that Volney’s statements were actuated by malice and was motivated by a desire on the part of the former minister to rescue and rehabilitate his own reputation for having been fired for ineptitude in relation to the implementation of section 34’ and by seeking to impute blame for his removal from the Cabinet.