Trinidad and Tobago: Andrew Mitchell QC's Success in the Mora Ven Inquiry

Andrew Mitchell QC successfully responded to a second abuse of process application in Trinidad this week at the San Fernando Magistrates’ Court.

Dr. Persad, an oil expert, was a director of MOVL and chairman of KPA. On 20 June 2002 two cheques were drawn in favour of KPA on MOVLs’ accounts at Scotiabank signed by him and ostensibly Mac Harris. One was for TT $1,456,000 (US$ 235,890.55) and the other for US$ 827,000. Each was credited to KPA’s account. MOVL’s chairman, George Nicholas, reported the matter to the police. After a lengthy investigation, they declined to lay charges. Andrew Mitchell QC was instructed to advise and lead a private prosecution.

On 20 August 2010, the defence argued that the Prosecution had failed to disclose a letter from MOVL’s auditors which was material. The letter purportedly showed that Persad had not intended to appropriate funds, except to clear off MOVL’s indebtedness to Krishna Persad & Associates (KPA).

Senior Magistrate Rajendra Rambachan ruled that a Preliminary Inquiry will continue on September 13 in order for the court to determine whether a prima facie case could be made out against Dr. Persad to stand trial before a judge and jury. He said:

“I find no merit in this abuse process application and therefore I dismiss it. This Preliminary Inquiry is ongoing, the processes of the hearing are still open and live to receive further evidence, further cross examination, further arguments and submissions”.

Andrew will return to Trinidad and Tobago next month.

Download the Privy Council decision in Nicholas v Persad to learn more about the background of the case here: