AG contemplates next move following ruling in Jack Warner’s extradition matter

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AG contemplates next move following ruling in Jack Warner’s extradition matter

Attorney General Reginald Armour is set to meet with the State’s legal team, following what he deemed a disturbing decision by a Chief Magistrate in the Jack Warner extradition matter.

The Attorney General said: “I am concerned that the findings of fact appear to have been made which are not justified on the evidence I have seen and the test of cross examination which one would expect of witnesses whose credibility has been tested.

Chief Magistrate Maria Busby Earle-Caddle ruled that the matter against the former FIFA vice-president, should be determined in the High Court, based on an affidavit and no evidence from any other parties.

She said the questions Warner had raised were legally grounded and had merit.

The magistrate was also critical of the actions of the State, and those of the US.

Warner is challenging the constitutionality of an alleged agreement former attorney general Faris Al-Rawi signed with the US in 2015 before he signed off on the authority for the chief magistrate to go ahed with extradition proceedings for Warner.

Warner’s argument relates to the arrangement between the US and TT for extradition and the speciality principle which, by law, provides that a person who is extradited can be prosecuted or sentenced in the requesting state only in relation to the offences for which extradition was granted, and not for any other crime allegedly committed before the extradition took place.

Earle-Caddle said the actions of the then attorney general (AG) lacked consistency.

The move is the latest drama in the handover of Warner to US authorities to face alleged corruption charges.

During a news conference yesterday, hours after the decision was handed down by Earle-Caddle, Armour stated he was unsettled by the recent development.

He said: “The Chief Magistrate ruled that the questions were not frivolous and vexatious in respect of Mr Warner’s complaint on the speciality argument on procedural and fairness and therefore she has referred those questions to the High Court for the High Court to determine the constitutionality of the request of the United States of America, of Trinidad and Tobago to extradite Mr Warner to the United States.”

Armour, who was reserved in his articulation of the ruling, expressed confusion over the position taken by the magistrate.

He said, “The Chief Magistrate went on to make findings of fact which disturbed me and I say that with all due respect because all that was before her was the affidavit of Mr Warner and no evidence from other parties and no cross examination of any body at all, and I have been in touch since the decision was handed down this morning with the legal team representing the Attorney General and the United States of America.”

Last November, The Privy Council ruled unanimously that the former FIFA vice-president can be extradited from his homeland of Trinidad to the United States to face corruption charges. 

Warner has remained resolute by the FIFA decision to give preference to South Africa, Russia and Qatar to host World Cup Finals.

The Attorney General, who was cautious in discussing the matter due to the rule of subjudice, also said he had not completely reviewed it and was not prepared to enter the realm of speculation.

“I too have not been able to digest everything that was said and it would be inappropriate for me at this stage to attempt to comment on the decision and the details of the decision,” he said.