Wednesday 9th March, 2005


Sharma vs Integrity Commission

Strike out hearsay evidence—State

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Attorney Russell Martineau, SC, has called on a San Fernando High Court judge to strike out four paragraphs in Siparia MP Chandresh Sharma’s second judicial review against the Integrity Commission, saying they were hearsay.

He told San Fernando Third Civil Court judge Peter Jamadar that the passage should not have been in Sharma’s action because it was hearsay evidence and consisted of Sharma’s opinions.

Martineau made the submission yesterday, at the start of the hearing of Sharma’s judicial review.

The review, which was filed by attorney Anand Ramlogan, is challenging the commission’s refusal to disclose the names of people who failed to file declarations of income, assets and liabilities for 2003 before the August 15 deadline.

Yesterday, Sharma’s attorneys, Dr Fenton Ramsahoye, QC, and Ramlogan, countered Martineau’s argument, saying the evidence was relevant to the matter.

Ramsahoye contended that Sharma was entitled to give his opinion as a sitting MP.

“It is part of his business. He is there to gather this information,” he said.

Jamadhar reserved his judgment on Martineau’s submission to have the paragraphs struck out.

He said he would give his decision today, when the hearing was expected to end. Sharma claims that the commission, in a letter dated October 13, refused to comply with his request for the list of people who are to make declarations and those who have not made any.

This request was made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

In his affidavit, Sharma said he wrote to the commission on September 14 seeking the information.

The commission said it could not furnish him with the information under the FOIA Act.

Sharma claims the decision is illegal, and he is seeking an order quashing the commission’s refusal to release the information.

He wants the court to direct the commission to provide him with the information, to which he is entitled in accordance with the FOIA.

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