No show for State’s star witness against Anand, Ramdeen

BRITISH Queen’s Counsel Vincent Nelson was a no-show in court on Thursday when his plea agreement matter came up for hearing before a High Court judge at the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain.

Nelson was required to be present for the hearing of the matter, but when it was called before Justice Malcolm Holdip at 2 p.m., the court was informed that Nelson was unable to arrive in this country from the United Kingdom in time for the hearing of the case.

Nelson, 61, has been charged with three corruption-related offences that involved the alleged kickback of millions of dollars in legal fees to former attorney general Anand Ramlogan and former United National Congress (UNC) senator Gerald Ramdeen.

The Queen’s Counsel had received a number of State briefs from the Office of the Attorney General during Ramlogan’s tenure under the People’s Partnership administration between 2010 and 2015.

The State’s case is that he repaid Ramlogan parts of the legal fees he obtained in exchange for him being granted the briefs.

When he first appeared in the Port of Spain Magistrates’ Court on May 2, Chief Magistrate Maria Busby Earle-Caddle was informed by his attorneys as well as Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard, SC, that Nelson wished to plead guilty to the offences under the recently-proclaimed Criminal Procedure (Plea Discussion and Plea Agreement) Act.

He has agreed to be the State’s main witness against Ramlogan and Ramdeen, who have also since been charged.

Under the Act, the matter is transferred by the magistrate to the High Court for the guilty plea to be entered without a preliminary enquiry taking place. At the hearing, Nelson was granted bail in the sum of $100,000.

Also, no restrictions were placed on his travel document, allowing him to travel in and out of the country whenever he so chooses.

Two days after his initial court appearance, Nelson left this country for the United Kingdom.