«A long-term trial may pose a danger to his health. ” Dr Sookur was called to testify in court Monday February 22 on the state of health of Raj Dayal, who calls for a stay of proceedings, due, among other reasons, to the departure of magistrates who required that the trial restart at twice, and evokes other prejudices which it will undergo within the framework of the lawsuit which is brought to him in the case “Bal kouler”.
The arguments were heard by magistrates Naddiyya Dauhoo and Nalini Senevrayar-Cunden of the intermediate court. In this money laundering and tax evasion lawsuit, Raj Dayal is accused of soliciting a bribe from businessman Soobhany for the purchase of 50 bags of colored powder in exchange of a permit for a real estate project.
Asked by Me Jacques Panglose of the defense, Dr Sookur of the Cardiac Center in Pamplemousses, confides that the former Minister of the Environment, who suffers from a serious illness, had to undergo urgent surgery in 2020. “Stress is one of the risk factors and if he suffers too much, he can suffer a deterioration of his state of health” said Raj Dayal’s attending physician. The stress caused by a lawsuit could therefore have an impact on his health.
The witness is due to return to court on March 3 to be cross-examined by Mr.e Abdool Raheem Tajoodeen from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
In another section, the Chief Investigator (CI) Seeruttun of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ICAC) was questioned at length about his affidavit filed in court on Friday in which he believes the trial was delayed by several referrals between 2017 and 2020 caused by motions from the defense. A chronology of events was also presented in court:
March 22, 2016: The investigation begins at the ICAC on this claim of colored balls.
February 27, 2017: A formal charge is filed against Raj Dayal before magistrates Vijay Appadoo and Niroshni Ramsoondar of the intermediate court.
March 20, 2017: Raj Dayal pleads not guilty to a charge of “bribery by public official”.
April 4, 2017: The trial is postponed until May 19 for the prosecution to release its witness list.
May 19, 2017: The defense presents two motions.
May 25, 2017: The prosecution objects.
June 1, 2017: The lawsuit requests more details on these motions.
June 16, 2017: New objection from the lawsuit.
July 27, 2017: The arguments are set but the trial is postponed, the defense lawyer suffering.
August 9, 2017: The defense requests a referral.
September 5, 2017: Debates on motions.
October 4, 2017: The case is again sent back.
October 11: One of the magistrates is ill.
January 19, 2018: One of the magistrates is transferred to the office of the DPP.
March 23 A new bench is constituted but dismissed because of the lawyer of the accused who is ill.
April 6, 2018: Debates take place.
April 10, 2018: The trial is postponed, one of the magistrates being ill.
May 10, 2018: Arguments on a motion.
June 15, 2018: Judges’ decision expected
July 28: The trial starts but the defense presents a motion
July 31, 2018: The prosecution requests a voir dire.
September 17, 2018: Arguments.
November 15, 2018: The magistrates give their opinion after their ruling has been referred three times.
November 23, 2018: The trial continues but the defense objects to the production of the tapes.
May 27, 2019: Judges’ decision expected but postponed.
July 11, 2019: The ruling dismissed again and the court asks the lawyers to produce further submissions.
August 9, 2019: The double-bench is pronounced.
October 9, 2019: The trial is postponed as Dayal’s lawyer is ill.
November 15, 2019: Witnesses are not heard due to the defense motion on the admissibility of an audio recording.
February 7, 2020: The defense presents two other motions.
In March 2020, the case is suspended because of the Covid-19.
July 28, 2020: The ruling is dismissed, the magistrates not being ready with their decision.
August 4, 2020: New referral.
September 9, 2020: Instructions given to restart the trial before another bench from the Financial Division, after Magistrate Boodhoo left the DPP’s office.
September 18, 2020: The trial restarts
Conversation with Patrick Soobhany
Faced with these dates, CI Seeruttun had to reiterate that the dismissals were caused by the defense on more than six occasions, to which Mr.e Panglose was to remind him that the transfer of magistrates or their absences or the dismissals of their rulings, infringe the proper administration of justice or discredit the administration of justice, causing prejudice to the accused.
Raj Dayal’s lawyer goes further by arguing that at no time was the point of delays in evoking abuse of process mentioned. “The defense has produced several reasons for asking for a stay of the trial, but you are talking about delay. It has nothing to do with what you say in your affidavit. ”
On another note, the investigator said that a VIPSU officer, who worked with the accused, confirmed that a conversation had indeed taken place between the complainant Patrick Soobhany and Raj Dayal in Gros-Cailloux but he hadn’t heard anything.