Rouben Mooroongapillay, dont les services ont été retenus par Rachna Seenauth, a adressé une correspondance à plusieurs hautes personnalités du pays dont le chef juge, le Directeur des poursuites publiques et le Premier ministre, entre autres, pour dénoncer la manière dont sa cliente a été arrêtée et les incohérences dans la façon de procéder de la police. Voici l’intégralité de sa lettre:
I would like to bring it to the attention of the Honourable Chief Justice, the Honourable Prime Minister, the Commissioner of Police, the Bar Council, the ODPP, Police Complaint Bureau, the Leader of the Oppostion, Members of Parliament and all those who feel concerned...in order to raise awareness of disturbing factors...for justice to prevail..even during this lockdown period.
My services have been retained to assist Ms Rachna Seenauth, secretary of the former President of the Republic of Mauritius, Mrs A Gurrib-Fakim, at 13.24 on the 15th April 2020 who has been arrested few minutes before at her residence at Quatre Bornes by the CCID.
I immediately contacted the Cyber Crime Unit but I am told that nobody has been brought or arrested.
I called the OPS ROOM of the CCID, where all movements are normally recorded, SEVERAL TIMES but every time the officer answering the call would say that nobody has been brought or arrested after verification with their colleagues. I was even told to check at CID SOUTH. I even called CID of Quatre Bornes and Quatre Bornes Police Station.
I even left my number at the CCID OPS ROOM as one officer Mr. S told me he will contact me to keep me posted but in vain.
It is only at 17.08, I got hold of a higher rank officer of the CCID and l inquired about my client whereabouts. The latter asked me at what time did I call. I told him since 13ish I have been calling to which he replied: "4.30 parla zot dan bureau are nou".
WHERE WAS MS RACHNA SEENAUTH BETWEEN 13.OO AND 16.30 WHEN IN FACT SHE HAS BEEN ARRESTED BY THE CCID? Why?
He also gave me the name of Inspector E. And Inspector R. as inquiring officers.
I told him that it is urgent and it is a call of duty for me to assist my client and finally arrangement was made for yesterday the 16th April 2020 at 9am for me to assist my client.
It was also public knowledge that I will be assisting my client as it was on the media.
The services of my learned friend Lovena Sowkhee have been retained as well by the family of the abovenamed accused party.
I reached the reception of the CCID at 9 am together with Me. L Sowkhee and we walked up to the Cyber Crime Unit and we were told to take a seat and wait as the police have gone to Pailles Police Station to pick up our client. Clearly, they were aware of our presence.
At about 10.00, our client reached the Cyber Crime Unit and she immediately requested for a Private Interview with us.
I asked inquiring officer Inspector R. about the reason for the arrest of my client and who is the declarant and when was the declaration made.
The Inspector told me it is in relation to a case of breach of ICTA and that the declaration was made at 13.10 on the 15th April 2020 by one Mr J., director of ICTA.
Question: why such a rush for police to be at her residence at the same time when statement was still being recorded from declarant. Will statement folios speak volume about the time on record? I will be economical with words. To be noted that i received a call retaining my services at 13.24.
Declaration 13.10... already arrested by 13.24 and only brought to CCID at about 16.30 according to the higher rank officer.
I was shocked to hear during the private interview that my client was brought to the SSU compound instead of the CCID.
My client wanted to cause an entry to be inserted to that effect but the Inspector was not too keen about that and proposed forcefully that she states whatever she has to say in her defence statement to which I objected and finally her entry has been inserted and reads as follow: Diary Entry 15 @ 10.51 .....13hrs approximately, the police was at my door and requested me to follow them to the station which i did without resistance. We reached the casernes SSU UNIT after around 15 minutes drive...i was kept in their conference room in a building where there are a lot of SSU Officers and a few of them were armed and i was shifted to another room where i waited for some time and was brought to the cyber crime only at around 15.45 whereby i was informed that i will be detained overnight pending inquiry. I left for the detention centre at around 17.20.
Again, I will be economical with words but I noticed on the statement folio of declarant ending 14.25.
Then, the defence statement started followed by an exercise at the IT Unit.
Once back at the Cyber Crime Office, before taking our client to court, Inspector E.and another officer approached me and Lovena in presence of all the other police officers and our client by showing us two documents from the Bar Council and Police respectively and that he is booking us for breach of the curfew order, to which we objected, as we do not have a memo to travel....and that we have traveled to assist our client.
I asked him who gave him such instruction and he replied Mr Rugbur.
I find this really odd as it is to the same higher rank officer I spoke to the previous day.
The moreso, I am concerned about the legal effect of such memo.
The memo of the police to the Bar Council reads as follow: " as regards the need to assist clients giving statements at the Police Station, a memo from the CONCERNED IN-CHARGE POLICE STATIONS/ UNITS would be required to confirm the necessity to record such statement at this period of time and services of barristers have been retained. REQUEST OF THIS NATURE WOULD BE CONSIDERED ONLY ON A CASE-TO-CASE BASIS".
In any event, I left my contact number and it is for inspector of the cyber crime unit, as in-charge, who should have issued the memo.
Is it for police to decide on such necessity? How can this be considered on a case to case basis?
Is that not against constitutional rights?
I would like to remind you of the case of Sanjeev Nunkoo,Lam Po Tang, whereby I assisted the 2nd set of defence statement gives us an idea of how the police operated. Counsel were not given access to detainee and we had to make a motion before the magistrate of Pamplemousses Court. In his first set of defence statement he was forced to confess certain things and then gave an accurate details of facts when he was properly assisted by me; and finally found not guilty.
I pray for this situation to be remedied and pray that:
(1). counsel is allowed to assist clients during this lockdown period and;
(2). that counsel should be able to contact the magistrate directly or through the Bar Council for urgent matters rather that through the Police as it is presently. For BRC, only an email address is provided and phone numbers of two police officers.
(3). there is an inquiry as to why my client was kept at SSU compound rather than being at CCID when in fact she has been arrested by the CCID.
(4). the whole procedure be reviewed in as much as it is most unfair for the same authority who can arrest a party to "assess on a case-to-case basis" to give clearance to counsel to travel to assist client.
I thank you for an urgent consideration and thank you in anticipation for your understanding and human touch.
Yours for Justice,