Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 21st 2017 Contents news A9
Wednesday, June 21, 2017 guardian.co.tt
Staff shortages hamper courts
The Judiciary was forced to
close 13 magistrates courts for
almost two hours yesterday
due to staff shortages caused
by the aftermath of Tropical
While the organisation had
initially deferred the usual 9 am
opening by one hour in a press
release issued hours before the
storm struck T&T on Monday
night, it had to amend its posi-
tion by midday yesterday as a large
number of judicial and support
staff across the country failed to
turn up to work.
When a news team from the
T&T Guardian visited the Port-
of-Spain Magistrate's Court at St
Vincent Street in Port-of-Spain,
dozens of people appeared to have
heeded the Judiciary's bulletin and
were present well before 10 am for
However, many were left frus-
trated as courtrooms remained
locked until almost midday and
when they were eventually opened
they were informed that their cas-
es had to adjourned.
The T&T Guardian understands
that of the 12 magistrates assigned
to the court only four, inclusive
of acting Chief Magistrate Ma-
ria Busby-Earle-Caddle, were
Only a handful of the magis-
trates' support staff had turned
up to work, forcing those present
to share the collective workload.
"I don't understand why they
waste people time to come here
in this weather when it was ob-
vious this was going to happen,"
one woman said.
A police officer, who lives in
Blanchisseuse, complained that
he had to navigate several land-
slides and fallen trees along the
North Coast Road in order to reach
to court on time.
"I was lucky that I put my
chainsaw in my trunk before I
left home. I was not reaching here
today if I could not cut those two
trees that was blocking the road,"
In a press release issued yes-
terday, the Judiciary's Court In-
formation and Protocol Manager
Alicia Carter-Fisher said that the
staff shortages did not affect the
Port-of-Spain and San Fernando
High Courts, which remained op-
erational during normal business
Carter-Fisher advised that all
the courts would resume their
normal operations today.
No bail for
Three men and a minor accused
of robbing Roman Catholic priest
Fr Clyde Harvey last week claimed
yesterday they were beaten by po-
lice to confess to the crime.
Lawyers representing Christian
Huggins, 19, Miguel Collins, 18, Dion
Gillard, 21 and a 17-year-old, who name
has been withheld,made the allegations
shortly after they were denied bail in
the Port-of-Spain Magistrate's Court,
Attorney Chelsea John, who repre-
sented Collins, said: "My client has
informed me that he was beaten and
forced to sign a document which he was
not able to read."
In response police prosecutor Sgt
Azard Ali questioned the veracity of
"I find it passingly strange that all
of a sudden the accused were beaten,"
Huggins' lawyer Ronald Daniels
rejected Ali's assertion which he de-
scribed as inappropriate and unfor-
Presiding magistrate Kerri Hon-
ore-Narine made a note of the com-
plaints and instructed the defence
attorneys that the issue may be raised
during the trial of the case.
The men who were dressed in the
same clothes they were wearing when
they were arrested by officers of the
Port-of-Spain CID last week, all ap-
peared to have bruise marks on their
faces but no other injuries that were
visible in court.
Honore-Narine acceded to the attor-
neys' request to have the group taken
to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital
for treatment before being remanded to
prison and the Youth Training Centre
(YTC) in Arouca.
The accused were charged with
breaking and entering into the St Mar-
tin's RC Church at Hermitage Road,
Gonzales, and falsely imprisoning
Harvey, during an incident last Monday.
They were also accused of using
personal violence to rob Harvey of a
watch valued at US$500, a Samsung
Galaxy cellphone valued at $4,500 and
When the group's attorneys attempt-
ed to apply for bail, the prosecutor said
the criminal record tracing was not
available and asked that the case be
adjourned to Thursday.
Honore-Narine agreed as she said she
could not consider bail without having
sight of the records.
The minor was represented by Shel-
don Guerra, while Gillard represented
Fr Clyde Harvey
to the Port-
OFF TO COURT
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