ST AUGUSTINE – ATTORNEY Jagdeo Singh is challenging AG Faris Al-Rawi to put on his robes and argue the State’s case against the judgement of Justice Frank Seepersad who struck down certain sections of the Sedition Act of Trinidad and Tobago.
Singh was speaking at a news conference at the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha headquarters at Eastern Main Road in St Augustine on Friday.
Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj also spoke at the conference saying that Al-Rawi should not have said that the Justice Seepersad’s judgement was dangerous.
At a press conference just hours after the judgment on Monday, Al-Rawi said it was “extremely dangerous” and had “wide-ranging consequences.” The AG said the State was going to appeal the ruling.
On Friday Maharaj said, “There is many avenues of having laws to protect the tranquility of the nation. There are some existing laws and there are laws which can be enacted.”
He said, “But there is no basis for saying that this is a dangerous judgement. As a matter of fact, with the greatest of respect to him, the statements which he has made are very dangerous and I will ask him to withdraw them. Because they are very dangerous to accuse a judge of giving a dangerous statement.”
Listen to Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj on Sedition Act:
And also speaking at the press conference Singh said, “If the government through its attorney general believes that this act is worth saving, then I have some advice for the attorney general.
“You are the titular head of the Bar, you are entitled to the rank of senior counsel…
“Since you are so full of belief… in the necessity of the act. Don’t seek refuge behind the silk gown of a senior counsel. Put on your robes Mr Attorney General, come to the Court of Appeal, sit in the front bench and argue this appeal yourself.
“Don’t brief counsel, seeing that your are prosecuting this act as being necessary in Trinidad and Tobago, don your robes in the great tradition of the Bar in the great tradition of all previous attorneys general, including Mr Maharaj, go to the Court of Appeal and argue this appeal yourself. Do not brief a senior counsel.
“If you are so full of belief that this is a necessary law in the 21st Century, then I say lead by example, fulfil your role as the titular head of the Bar and come and argue this appeal yourself.”
Listen to Jagdeo Singh calling on AG to argue case in Court of Appeal:
The judgement stems from a case brought by the late secretary general of the Maha Sabha Satnarayan Maharaj and its media house Central Broadcasting Services Limited (CBSL).
Maharaj, better know as Sat, and CBSL wanted a declaration that sections 3, 4 and 13 of the Sedition Act infringed the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution of TT. These included the rights to property, to join a political party, freedom of expression and freedom of the press.
In his 51-page judgement, Justice Seepersad concluded, “This Court has found that the vagueness, lack of clarity and uncertainty in the relevant provisions of the Sedition Act leads to an arbitrary application of the law.”
The lawsuit was filed after police executed a search warrant on the offices of CSSL at the corner of Pasea Road and the Churchill Roosevelt Highway in Tunapuna in April last year after comments made by Maharaj on the programme The Maha Sabha Strikes Back.
The Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago had warned the CBSL saying that Maharaj’s statements “can be seen as divisive and inciteful.”