Marlene McDonald (GP)
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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – The lawyer representing former public administration minister, Marlene McDonald, says her client is not likely to attend a court hearing on Monday where she is expected to answer charges of conspiracy to defraud the government, along with four other people.
Senior Counsel Pamela Elder confirmed that McDonald, who has been in police custody since last Thursday, had been taken to the privately-owned St Clair Medical Centre in the capital after complaining of feeling unwell.
“The reason given by the police officers was that they had not been able to process the other accused and therefore although she had been charged she was forced to remain in police custody.
“And when one considers show long she has been in custody it is not surprising that she has ended up here this morning,” Elder told reporters.
“I will do whatever is necessary because what has happened here should never have happened. From the inception of her arrest she was told that there were reasonable grounds to suspect that she had committed certain offences.
“So if the police have reasonable grounds to suspect then why wait so long to charge,” the Senior Counsel told reporters, adding “and if after charging why not ensure that the person is released and attend court this morning”.
She said McDonald has been warded and may not appear in court on Monday as had been scheduled due to her condition. McDonald is reported to be diabetic.
“You should know that her medical condition is a private matter and you should respect her right to privacy. She is at present warded under the supervision of her doctors,” Elder said.
A police statement earlier on Monday said that apart from McDonald, the others facing the charges are her husband, Michael Carew, Victor McEachrane, Wayne Anthony and Edgar Zephrine. (CMC)