Trinidad – Court orders cops: Express House off limits

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(Trinidad Express) – In a late night order, a High Court judge has restrained agents of the Police Service from reentering Express House in Port of Spain to conduct any further searches.

Attorneys for One Caribbean Media on Wednesday night went to court seeking an injunction.

The legal action came hours after police officers visited Express House with a warrant to search the office of Editor-in-Chief Omatie Lyder.

The search was triggered by the publication of an investigative story by journalist Denyse Renne in last Sunday’s Express, headlined “Cop in $2m cheque probe”.

The article revealed that three banks had flagged $2 million in suspicious money deposited into several bank accounts belonging to acting police commissioner Irwin Hackshaw.

Hackshaw is acting for Police Commissioner Gary Griffith who is out of the country.

When contacted, Griffith said he knew nothing of the investigation.

The seven police officers spent close to two hours searching the office of the Editor-in-Chief.

The search warrant allowed the officers to secure any materials which could be used as “evidence” in the commission of an indictable offence.

This “offence” is who leaked the information that led to publication of the investigative story.

Police officers left the building with four flash drives from Lyder’s office.

Last night, company attorney Peter Carter, who instructs senior counsel Sophia Chote, filed action.

Justice Kevin Ramcharan ordered that agents of the Commissioner of Police Commissioner or lead investigator Supt Wendell Lucas be restrained from searching, inspecting, removing, accessing, examining, or copying the servers located at Express House, until the matter was resolved through court action.

The search at Express House is being widely condemned, with a defiant Lyder stating that the police could expect no help from her or the author of the article.

“Our sources are our lifeblood and we will protect them with all our journalistic integrity,” Lyder said.

THE WARRANT

According to the warrant, there are “reasonable grounds for believing that computers, tablets, external storage devices, cellular phones including their SIM cards, SD Cards, images, calendars, phone books, contacts, SMS messages, e-mails, pictures, video recordings, audio recordings, call logs, installed application data, GPS information, Wi-Fi information, Internet history and usage, user files, system files, and any other data which are not recorded or stored on the hard drive, or storage medium contained within the aforementioned electronic digital devices, and magazines, digital recording discs, documents and articles, which will afford evidence as to the commission of an indictable offence, namely ‘Tipping-off’.”

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