Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 19th 2017 Contents news A5
Wednesday, April 19, 2017 guardian.co.tt
Dad drinking over
son's death fined
$15,000, loses permit
A Marabella man who said he drank alcohol
as a way of coping with the two-year-anniver-
sary of his son's death was fined $15,000 and
had his driver's permit taken away yesterday,
after he was convicted for a third consecutive
time for drinking and driving.
Wazir Ramjohn, 52, pleaded guilty to the charge
of driving under the influence of alcohol and his
attorney, Sharmilla Rampaul, told Magistrate Na-
talie Diop he needed help instead of a custodial
Ramjohn has two previous convictions for driv-
ing under the influence, one in 2010 and one in
He was arrested when police responded to a
road traffic accident along Union Road Marabella
around 6 pm on Sunday. When he was interviewed
by officers on the scene, Ramjohn admitted he was
drinking alcohol. When a breathalyser test was
done on him, it showed he had exceeded the 35
microgramme legal limit by 42 microgrammes.
He was arrested and charged by WPC Sylvester.
In her mitigation to the court yesterday, Rampaul
said her client's son died on April 13, 2015 and the
date he was arrested was close to the two-year
anniversary of the death. She said he had been
drinking again because of the anniversary.
Asking for a non-custodial sentence, Rampaul
said Ramjohn needs rehabilitation and not jail time.
She said he needed counselling as his drinking and
depression were inter-related. At the age of 52, she
said Rampaul had still not been able to deal with
his son's death and would drink alcohol to block
off the pain he was feeling.
Rampaul said her client was willing to participate
in any programmes, such as Arrive Alive, as he had
not done so in the past because his family did not
know about such programmes.
Diop said Ramjohn's court record showed he had
two pending matters from 2010 and 2014 and the
police had a duty to update their records. After she
stood down the matter for prosecutor Sgt Kassiram
Lutchman to check the records, she said in the past
Ramjohn's driver's permit had been taken away by
the court and then reinstated sometime later. She
told him that no matter how he felt about his per-
sonal circumstances, if drinking brings him relief
and he opts to drink he must not be on the road.
She said there was minor damage reported from
the accident and Ramjohn should know the law
as he has been through the system time and time
again. She said with his two past convictions, the
court needs to send a clear message that his con-
duct would not be tolerated. She then fined him
$15,000 and ordered him to pay $3,000 forthwith,
with two months to pay the balance. In default,
he will serve two years hard labour.
Diop also ordered that his driver's per-
mit be taken away permanently and that he
be disqualified from holding a permit for life.
--- SHARLENE RAMPERSAD
$600,00 bail for
Cocaine in scented candles for export
A solider and his girlfriend, who
are accused of attempting to export a
quantity of cocaine hidden in scented
candles, have been granted a total of
$600,000 in bail.
Collin Clarke, 26, of Cunupia, and Char-
lene Giles, 24, of Savannah Terrace, Diego
Martin, were each granted $300,000 bail
after they appeared before Senior Magistrate
Nanette Forde-John in the Port-of-Spain
Magistrates' Court yesterday. They were
also given a cash alternative of $75,000.
The couple was arrested during a sting
operation set up by members of the Organ-
ised Crime, Narcotics and Firearms Bureau
(OCNFB) and the Customs and Excise Divi-
sion at international courier DHL's office in
El Socorro, San Juan, last Thursday.
They are alleged to have had in their
possession a box containing 24 packages
of scented candles which were found to
contain cocaine. The package, inclusive
of the drugs and candles, weighed a total
of 1.8 kilogrammes.
Clarke was charged under Section 154 of
the Customs Act with attempting to export
a prohibited item, while Giles was charged
with cocaine trafficking. They were not
called upon to plead to the charges as they
were laid indictably.
Clarke, who had been enlisted in the T&T
Regiment for the past five years, was hit with
two additional charges over illegal items
found at his home during a routine search
after his arrest. He was charged with posses-
sion of 50 rounds of ammunition and har-
bouring a package containing uncustomed
goods (items for which no duties were paid)
under Section 213 (c) of the Customs Act.
Clarke could not immediately access his
bail yesterday, as it did not cover the two
charges for possession of the items that
were allegedly recovered at his home. He
was remanded into custody and ordered
to reappear in the Chaguanas Magistrates'
Court this morning to answer those charges.
Clarke was represented by Collin Partap
and Irshard Ali, while Richard Clarke-Wills
The couple will reappear before Forde-
John on May 11.
Coast Guard on DUI begs for mercy
Coast Guard officer
David Elton Clement will
have to return to court on
May 18 to be sentenced,
after he was arrested for
driving under the influ-
ence of alcohol on Good
Clement, who yesterday
appeared before Magistrate
Natalie Diop in the San Fer-
nando Magistrates' Court,
was also charged with re-
sisting police officer Surjeet
Ramcharan in the course of
his duties, behaving in a dis-
orderly manner and driving
while playing loud music.
He was arrested around
2.55 am on Friday at Lady
Hailes, Cross Crossing, San
Fernando. He pleaded guilty
yesterday to driving under the
influence but not guilty to the
three other charges.
Clement was represented
by attorney Adele Acosta,
who told the court her client
is very disciplined and was
commended in 2016 for his
outstanding dedication to
his job. She said he was deeply
remorseful and embarrassed
and he was not one who reg-
ularly partakes in consuming
alcohol. She said on the night
he was arrested, Clement was
drinking light beers and was
under the mistaken belief that
he was not over the prescribed
limit based on the type of bev-
erage he consumed.
Acosta said when he was
arrested he had gone to the
Cross Crossing in San Fer-
nando with his wife to buy
gyros to eat, as he thought the
food would have lessened the
possible effects the light beers
had on his system.
She said this was Clement's
first offence before the courts
and there was a Chief Petty
Office present in court who
was willing to speak on his
The lawyer said he stood
to be penalised by the Coast
Guard if he is convicted of this
offence and it would affect his
promotions within the ser-
vice. A part of his job, Acosta
said, is driving frequently as
he liaises with officers of the
army and the police service.
Asking that Clement be
spared jail time, Acosta
said he is willing to consent
to community service or a
chance to further mitigate.
She said he was also willing
to attend Arrive Alive ses-
sions so he could be better
informed on drinking and
Police prosecutor Sgt
Kassiram Lutchman said
tracing was unavailable and
asked that the prosecution be
granted time to have Clement
Diop granted the request
and allowed Clement to re-
main on the bail he was grant-
ed at the police station. She
advised him to register with
the probation officer's office
in San Fernando yesterday
and deferred sentencing for
the DUI until a probation of-
ficer's report could be made
When Clement returns to
court on May 18, a date will
set for trial for the other three
charges arising out of the
Coast Guard officer David Elton Clement appeared before a San
Fernando magistrate charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.
PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
Wazir Ramjohn pleaded guilty to driving under the
influence of alcohol. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
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