Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 20th 2015 Contents A5
Thursday, August 20, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
High Court Judge Vasheist Kokaram
will today decide whether a 14-year-
old boy accused of murder should be
released into the custody of his mother.
Lawyers representing the teenager
proposed the unconventional move,
which is in direct contradiction of bail
legislation that does not allow for release
of prisoners charged with murder under
any circumstance, yesterday after both
Kokaram and attorneys for the State
conceded that his detention at the Youth
Training Centre in Arouca over the past
18 months was unlawful.
Presenting submissions on behalf of
the teenager from Diego Martin in the
Port-of-Spain High Court, his lawyer
Senior Counsel Anand Ramlogan stated
that his stay at the facility breached his
client s fundamental constitutional rights
as YTC was only allowed to house
inmates and remand prisoners who are
between 16 and 18 years old.
"Our primary concern is to get him
out of YTC because he has been put in
a place where convicted persons, who
are not of his age, are kept. To keep the
child there amounts to child cruelty,"
State attorney Karel Douglas agreed
with Ramlogan s statement but noted
that a conditional release to his parents
was not an option which the State was
willing to accept.
While he was forced to admit that
there were no facilities in T&T which
were approved by the Children s Author-
ity to house the teen, Douglas suggested
that the teen be held temporarily at the
St Michael s Home for Boys in Diego
"I admit that there is not the best
but under the circumstances it is the
only option," Douglas said after a rep-
resentative from the authority who was
present in court informed Kokaram that
the home was not given approval based
on issues with security, the facilities
and lack of training of staff to properly
care for juvenile offenders.
As he pointed to the concerns raised
by the representative, Ramlogan said
he was also hesitant to accede to the
suggestion because the Children s Act
and Children s Community Residences,
Foster Care and Nurseries Act, which
govern the court s handling of minors
charged with serious crimes, require
that offenders be only housed in
He said the child should not continue
to be subjected to unlawful and uncon-
stitutional detention at another inap-
propriate facility because the State had
failed to facilitate the implementation
of all the provisions of the legislation.
"If Parliament has provided that you
be detained in accordance with the law
and that is not provided then your con-
stitutional right to liberty and to not
be deprived of it without due process
of law becomes paramount," Ramlogan
In response, Douglas raised the issue
of the precedent that may be set if
Kokaram opted to grant the child bail.
"It sets a bad precedent and may
open the floodgates for other persons
who may seek release when charged
with murder," Douglas said.
Besides the illegality and suitability
of his place of detention, the teen is
also claiming that he suffered abuse
during his stay at the facility.
Speaking through his mother, a wit-
ness in the case, the teenager alleged
that he was constantly physically abused
by older residents who robbed him of
his food and toiletries.
The teenager was not brought to court
for yesterday s hearing. However,
Kokaram ordered that he be present at
2 pm today.
The teenager is also being represented
by Gerald Ramdeen, Kent Samlal, Varun
Debideen and Delicia Helwig.
State concedes in teen's lawsuit:
Minor in wrong jail
JENSEN LA VENDE
Beetham woman who
is accused of fatally
stabbing a 16-year-old
in the neck surren-
dered to police yester-
The teenager surren-
dered to Beyond The
Tape hosts Insp Roger
Alexander and Marlan Hopkinson around 3 pm
yesterday at Express House, Independence Square,
The woman is wanted in connection with the
killing of Jernice Francis who was killed on August
12.According to police reports, officers of the St
Barb s Police Post responded to a report of a
stabbing at Bowen Trace, Snake Valley, around
9 pm Wednesday.
Witnesses said Francis and her friend were
walking along the road when the attacker said
something to them.
They reportedly responded and continued
walking. Suddenly, witnesses said, the attacker
rushed Francis and stabbed her in the neck.
Francis began screaming as her friend rushed
to her assistance, telling her attacker she had
attacked the wrong person. Francis was later
taken to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital
where she died while undergoing treatment.
Residents said Francis had just returned from
Macqueripe with her friend and was getting her
belongings together to return to her Second Cale-
donia, Morvant, home when she was killed.
Speaking with the T&T Guardian yesterday
Francis parents---Ricardo Francis and Lisa Bar-
row---said they were both happy to hear that the
The father said his family had "flashes" of his
daughter and would become saddened by her
death, mere two weeks after her 16th birthday.
He said despite that his family was "holding up
well" and at the time was meeting with a social
"I put everything in God s hands and I know
she would have given up herself. I just hope
justice will be served and we just praying for this
young lady to come and know Jesus as Lord and
"I pray and ask my children let us come and
pray to find that strength to forgive her because
it is very hard because it now coming to that
understanding that Jernice not coming back,"
Francis, who was supposed to enter Fourth
Form at the opening of the school term in Sep-
tember, was buried last Saturday following a cer-
emony at the Church on the Rock Open Bible
Church, Lady Young Road, Morvant.
Teen wanted for
State attorney Karel Douglas leaves the Hall of
Justice, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.
PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
Homicide detectives are investigat-
ing the circumstances surrounding
Tuesday night s killing of 53-year-old
According to police reports, at about
7.45 pm on Tuesday residents of Fourth
Street, Simeon Road, Petit Valley, heard
several loud explosions and later found
McKenzie at the side of the road with
When approached at the Forensic
Science Centre, St James, yesterday his
relatives did not speak with the media.
His killing has taken the murder toll
to 260 for the year according to the
Homicide Bureau of Investigations.
Petit Valley man killed
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