IIJ Investigations Initiative: Phase V – Trinidad & Tobago Counter-Terrorism Investigation Project

Starting Date2020-03-09 Ending Date2020-03-13 Port of Spain, Trinidad

On 9 – 13 March 2020, the IIJ delivered the fifth phase of its bespoke IIJ Investigations Initiative: Trinidad & Tobago Counter-Terrorism Investigation Project. Generously supported by the British High Commission, this phase concentrated on capacity-building for judicial and prosecutorial authorities, building on earlier practical training and development modules and mentoring which engaged law enforcement, intelligence, immigration, corrections and defence agencies working together with prosecutors. The unique security partnership between the British High Commission in Port of Spain, the Government of Trinidad & Tobago and the IIJ in Malta, which underpins this project, was recognised by the UK Outstanding Security Performance Awards in February 2020.

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A two-day module for thirty-six members of Trinidad &Tobago’s judiciary was held at the Judicial Educational Institute in Port of Spain under the leadership of Justice Gillian Lucky. The module addressed key issues arising from the consolidation of the Anti-Terrorism Act, Act No. 18 of 2018. Through a combination of lectures, discussions and an interactive comprehensive real-life case study, the programme covered: 1) key elements of pre-trial preparation, including effective case management, managing disclosure, plea bargaining and handling of national security intelligence in criminal prosecutions; 2) key aspects of effective trial management, including the use of expert witnesses, courtroom and witness protection, media and reporting issues, public interest immunity, and the presentation and admissibility of electronic, digital and scientific evidence; 3) key sentencing issues, including advanced sentence indications (‘Goodyear’ indications), sentencing guidelines, risk assessments in relation to terrorism sentences, imprisoning terrorist offenders, and parole considerations in relation to terrorist offenders.

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A further two-day module was then held for thirty prosecutors from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions and the Trinidad & Tobago Police Service. As with the judicial module, the prosecutorial module addressed key issues arising from the consolidation of the Anti-Terrorism Act, Act No. 18 of 2018 and crucial considerations such as: the benefits of engaging prosecutors at an early stage in terrorist investigations; challenges for prosecutors in selecting appropriate terrorism and non-terrorism charges in relation to crimes of a terrorist nature; challenges for prosecutors in managing the use of sensitive information emanating from terrorist investigations; and diverse challenges in managing victims and witnesses in relation to terrorist investigations.

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These modules and the interactive case-studies and exercises supporting implementation and operationalisation of the internationally-recognised good practices and recommendations articulated within the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) Rabat Memorandum on Good Practices for Effective Counterterrorism Practice in the Criminal Justice Sector, Abuja Recommendations on the Collection, Use and Sharing of Evidence for Purposes of Criminal Prosecution of Terrorist Suspects, The Hague Memorandum on Good Practices for the Judiciary in Adjudicating Terrorism Offences, as well as the IIJ Prosecutor Outline and the Judiciary of England and Wales Better Case Management (BCM) Handbook.

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A highly experienced training team comprising former UK ‘Old Bailey’ criminal and counter-terrorism judge His Honour Michael Topolski QC, Ms. Karen Robinson, a specialist prosecutor and member of the UK Counter Terrorism Panel, and Ms. Jane Stansfield, a specialist terrorism prosecutor from the UK Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), joined IIJ Senior Investigations Adviser Mr. Joe Connell and IIJ Programme Assistant Ms. Roksolana Burianenko in designing, developing and delivering this bespoke programme.  A series of liaison meetings to establish local requirements were held in Port of Spain with the British High Commissioner Mr. Tim Stew MBE, Deputy High Commissioner Mrs. Caroline Alcock OBE, the Chief Justice of Trinidad and Tobago the Honourable  Ivor Archie, the Attorney General, the Honourable Faris al-Rawi, and Mr. Roger Gaspard, the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The participants benefited not only from specialist presentations, but also the opportunity to interact with highly experienced international practitioners in their respective professions. Throughout the training, the participants developed a number of practical recommendations for consideration in strengthening Trinidad & Tobago’s criminal justice response to terrorism through the rule of law

For information about earlier phases of this innovative project, see here and here.

For more information on the IIJ’s work in Trinidad & Tobago or the broader IIJ Investigations Initiative, please email IIJ Senior Investigations Advisor Mr. Joe Connell.