Senior counsel: State must act swiftly on SIA

This was the view expressed to Newsday yesterday by Senior Counsel Hendrickson Seunath concerning Friday’s revelation in the House of Representatives by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

And the Government should act swiftly, Seunath stressed, before evidence is destroyed by persons who might still have access to the high-tech systems which the SIA used to wiretap the phones of citizens and public figures, including President George Maxwell Richards.

Seunath anticipates there will be a flood of litigation by the named persons whose phones were tapped to seek redress in the courts for violation of their constitutional rights.

But Seunath, who is a former vice-president of the Law Association, described Persad-Bissessar’s revelation in Parliament as “a blessing to the people of the country”.

“There would have been mayhem in this country, if only we were to know the extent of political interference, misappropriation of funds and the extent of drugs here. It is a scandalous revelation of wrongdoing and people need to wake up to what is happening to see how they are being oppressed by the political powers in our society.” Seunath said the SIA acted without any legal authority and any act of telephone tapping was committed illegally and therefore, not only is the SIA head accountable, but all those in his employ who were engaged in so doing. The legal principle must be apply, the senior counsel added, to anyone who acted on instructions to wiretap persons phone.

“Saying you were acting on instructions is not a way out, if your boss did not have the legal authority. You are out in the rain,” Seunath said.

Seunath reiterated the State should seek to quickly arrest those who were directly involved the acts and every effort must be made to secure the evidence “before you find things disappearing”.


"Senior counsel: State must act swiftly on SIA"

More in this section