The trial of a lawsuit in which the publishers of a daily newspaper are challenging the constitutionality of two recent raids on its organisation has been deferred.
The case was expected to go to trial before Justice Seepersad but had to be rescheduled to next week Friday as lawyers representing the Office of the Attorney General requested a variation of the court’s timeline to file submissions.
The Media Association of T&T (MATT) has also been granted permission to participate in the case as it claims that the determination of the issue would possibly affect its members’ work in the future.
The raids on the newspaper were related to a series of investigative reports by journalist Denyse Renne, which revealed that Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Irwin Hackshaw had been flagged by three local banks for suspicious financial activity.
The reports also alleged that Hacksaw had been moonlighting as a security consultant whilst on vacation leave without the permission of the Police Commissioner.
They also alleged that Hackshaw solicited “donations” from businesses to fund annual social events for police officers.
The FIB investigation allegedly was to determine who leaked the information, as Proceeds of Crime Act makes it an offence to disclose information in relation to an active money-laundering investigation.
The “tipping off” offence carries a maximum penalty of a $5 million fine and five years imprisonment.
Both Hackshaw and the newspaper have denied any wrongdoing.
In March, the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) initiated two independent investigations into Hacksaw’s alleged conduct, one into possible criminal conduct and the other into possible breaches of the Police Service Regulations.
Both investigations have since been completed by the PCA.
In terms of the the police misconduct probe, the PCA recommended internal disciplinary proceedings against Hacksaw.
The findings of the probe into possible criminal charges were shared with Police Commissioner Gary Griffith and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
Hackshaw has since been suspended pending a probe ordered by Griffith.
MATT is being represented by Ria Mohammed-Davidson and Michael Rooplal. The companies are being represented by Sophia Chote, SC, Peter Carter, Vahni Seunath and Dana-Marie Smith.
Fyard Hosein, SC, Rishi Dassand and Kendra Mark-Gordon are representing the AG’s Office.