Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 15th 2017 Contents A10 news
guardian.co.tt Thursday, June 15, 2017
State to pay
The State has been ordered to pay almost
$150,000 in compensation to an electrical
engineer who was wrongfully detained by
police for six hours over allegedly stealing
a circuit board from a client who failed to
pay for his services.
Delivering a 24-page judgement in the Port-of-
Spain High Court last Friday, Justice Joan Charles
ruled that police did not have reasonable cause
to suspect that Azard Ali, the owner of A & E
Electrical Engineering Ltd, had committed the
crime when they arrested him.
According to the evidence in the case, Ali was
arrested by PC Harrysingh of the Couva CID at
his businessplace on December 4, 2008.
Despite informing investigators that he had
seized the circuit board from TSI Energy Ser-
vices Ltd in Couva after its owner failed to pay
him for work done, Ali
was arrested and tak-
en to the Couva Police
holding cell and only
released after the
owner of TSI eventu-
ally came to the sta-
tion and corroborated
In her judgement,
Charles said the ev-
idence from the of-
ficers was not cred-
ible as they failed to
detail the investiga-
tions they did after
receiving the report
of the stolen item.
She also noted that Harrysingh had failed to
review CCTV footage of the alleged theft which
substantiated Ali's claims.
"The fact of the non-production of relative
records led me to the conclusion that the po-
lice were doing the company a favour rather than
making any professional attempt to conduct a
police investigation of a report of a crime,"
She also suggested that Ali's arrest may have
been a ploy to intimidate him into changing his
position on the company's debt to him.
"On the evidence, it would appear that the
purpose of the detention was to break Ali's will
and cause him to return the circuit board to the
company regardless of the contractual issues
between them," Charles said, as she described
Harrysingh's conduct in the case as oppressive
Charles ordered that the State pay Ali $80,000
in general and aggravated damages and $25,000
in exemplary damages. She also ordered that five
per cent interest be paid on the general damages
from the date of Ali's arrest to when she delivered
judgement in the case.
Charles said the compensation was largely
based on the embarrassment to Ali caused by
being arrested in front of his staff and customers.
"A public arrest must affect his professional
and business reputation and serve to lower him
in the eyes of his employees," Charles said.
The State was also ordered to pay Ali's legal
costs for bringing the lawsuit.
Ali was represented by Alana Rambarran and
Regrello promises to open Sando soup kitchen
Hope for the homeless
RADHICA DE SILVA
San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello
yesterday met with a group of homeless
people at the San Fernando bandstand to
discuss the delayed opening of a centre
for socially displaced people.
The centre at Kings Wharf, is expected to
have a soup kitchen and washroom facilities
for the homeless.
During the meeting Amardeo Baijoo, who
has lived on the streets for 17 years, told Re-
grello that they desperately needed a place
where they could get meals and sleep.
"Now is the rainy season. We have to run
for cover when it start to pour. We sleeping
under the trees and we have to look out for
people who come to beat us. The police chase
us and they even charged me for loitering. I
make a jail for seven days because I did not
have $200 to pay a fine. Where I getting $200
from?" Baijoo asked.
He urged the Mayor to open the facility as
soon as possible. Baijoo said he felt happy that
the project started by former Mayor Kazim
Hosein would finally get on stream.
Another homeless person, who identified
herself as Shamilla Ragobar, asked Regrello
whether the centre will have accommodation
Ragobar, who declined to be interviewed
by the media, told Regrello that she wanted a
place where she could be comfortable.
Regrello did not give a date as to when the
facility will be opened. However, he said he
planned to meet with the committee in charge
of the project tomorrow (Friday) to get some
answers. He said the centre will serve as a drop
off point where good Samaritans can provide
food for the socially displaced.
Regrello said homeless people who visit
the centre will be given three meals a day.
He said a San Fernando businessman who
wanted to give back to society had committed
to providing 100 meals to the centre every day.
The city has 56 homeless people, based on
the last count, but Regrello said within the
last few months, this figure had increased.
"People from Port-of-Spain, Tunapuna, Ari-
ma and other parts of the country are coming
to live on the streets of San Fernando because
they think here has more facilities.
"All the Mayors have been meeting with
the Ministry of Social Development's Task
Force to address this issue. Since January we
have been working with the Task Force and a
document went to Cabinet earlier this week
with a plan on how to treat this issue. Home-
lessness is increasing daily. The shelter at the
Wharf may be a model for us to work with.
We are not embarking on having an overnight
centre because we don't have the manpower
to assess them. It is not a quick fix but in the
meantime we will do what we can to assist
them," Regrello said.
He said he plans to hold a meeting with
officials at Court Shamrock, which is a centre
subsidised by government to assist socially
displaced people. Regrello said security issues
were raised at the centre but discussions will
be held to see how the Corporation could be
The situation in the capital city of Port-
of-Spain has also been one of the priorities
of Mayor Joel Martinez as the Centre for So-
cially Displaced, at the retrofitted Riverside
Carpark, cannot accommodate many of the
San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello meets with homeless people to discuss the opening of the soup kitchen at Kings Wharf, San
Fernando, yesterday. PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
Justice Joan Charles
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