Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 27th 2017 Contents A4 news
guardian.co.tt Thursday, July 27, 2017
A High Court Judge has dismissed a
lawsuit from a 16-year-old boy accused
of murder. The teen was challenging his
detention at a "safe house" run by the Chil-
Delivering judgment in the Port-of-Spain
High Court yesterday, Justice Vasheist Kokaram
rejected claims from the teen's attorneys who
contended that remanding him to a three-bed-
room house, set up by the authority to specifical-
ly house him, constituted solitary confinement.
"I have concluded that the conditions under
which (name withheld) is presently being de-
tained can only amount to solitary confinement
in a limited literal sense, that he has been seg-
regated from his "peers," or other youngsters
on remand," Kokaram said.
He noted that the teenager was only placed
at the special purpose facility last year after he
(Kokaram) ordered that he be removed from the
Youth Training Centre (YTC) as he was inter-
acting with and was susceptible to abuse from
The facility was established as the Chil-
dren's Act provides that minors ac-
cused of crimes be remanded to
community residences approved
by the authority and at the time
there were none.
"If indeed there are no other
alternatives and had the order in
the YTC proceedings not been
the subject of appeal, he may have
been joined by other youths on re-
mand until suitable community
residences have been approved,"
His lawyers filed the second
claim over his confinement after he
escaped from the new facility after
staying there for a few months. His
lawyers claimed that was suicidal as a result
of being kept in virtual solitary confinement.
However, Kokaram said he and the attorneys
visited the teenager at the facility and were
satisfied by its suitability.
"Conditions have been established to ame-
liorate his isolation. His health, educational
and physical needs are being addressed...
His surroundings are generous and open. He
has opportunities to communicate with and
experience the wider world," Kokaram said.
As part of his judgement, Kokaram addressed
the teen, his mother and his aunt, who were
all present in court, and advised them to take
advantage of the less restrictive visitation
policy at the facility.
"No matter the walls of his residence or the
paper upon which the best laid rules are in-
scribed, I remind everyone that it is the love
in the human interaction with... as with other
juvenile offenders which defines the rehabil-
itative exercise," Kokaram said.
Kokaram also praised the authority
for its work in diverting resources in
order to facilitate the teen.
The teenager is jointly charged with
22-year-old Stefan Frederick, his
20-year-old sister and their 20-year-
old friend with beating Deodath to
death with a hammer at his Sea Trace, Baga-
telle, Diego Martin, between January 16 to 19,
2014. The teens, all from Diego Martin, are also
accused of robbing Deodath of his $150,000
Toyota Dyna truck and a leaf blower valued at
When they were charged with the crime the
teen was 12 and his sister was 16.
The siblings' case was one that was left un-
finished by former chief magistrate Marcia
While Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi is proposing
legislation to rectify the debacle caused by the short-
lived judicial appointment of former chief magistrate
Marcia Ayers-Caesar, a group of men whose murder
case was affected, staged a silent protest yesterday.
Chicki Portello, Kareem Gomez, Levi Joseph, Antho-
ny Charles and Israel "Arnold" Lara protested as they
reappeared before acting Chief Magistrate Maria Bus-
by-Earle-Caddle in the Port-of-Spain Magistrates' Court
The men and a large group of their relatives, who were
present for the hearing, were all dressed in matching white
T-shirts bearing the slogans: "Freedom. We are innocent.
We want to go home. Set us free. We want justice."
The group, charged with the same murder, was responsible
for a minor riot at the courthouse in April after they learned
that their case, which was left unfinished by Ayers-Caesar,
may have to be restarted. While they were outspoken at
hearings held subsequent to their violent outburst, the
accused men were silent during yesterday's hear-
ing and spoke through their attorney Criston
During yesterday's hearing, a representa-
tive from the Office of the Director of Public
Prosecutions (DPP) indicated that it had gotten
the transcript of the group's case and that DPP Roger
Gaspard, SC, was yet to make a determination on how
it should proceed. Gaspard is also yet to make an an-
nouncement on his decision in relation to the other 51
cases left unfinished by Ayers-Caesar.
Williams suggested that DPP utilise Section 23
(8) c of the Indictable Offences (Preliminary En-
quiry) Act which gives him the power to prefer
an indictment where a magistrate has heard evi-
dence and is unable to complete the inquiry due
to physical or mental infirmary, resignation, re-
tirement or death. The group's case was adjourned
to August 2. Al-Rawi is reportedly currently do-
ing consultations on a Miscellaneous Provisions
(Summary Courts and Preliminary Enquiries) Bill
2017, which seeks to address the fallout caused by
the Ayers-Caesar debacle.
According to a letter sent to Law Association presi-
dent Douglas Mendes, SC, which was obtained by the T&T
Guardian, the proposed bill seeks to widen the scope of the
DPP's power under the Indictable Offences (Preliminary
Enquiry) Act to include instances where a magistrate is
unable to complete a preliminary enquiry for any reason.
"Further, where the DPP does not prefer a voluntary
bill of indictment and a Magistrate is unable to complete a
preliminary enquiry for any reason, the Bill seeks to create
a power for another Magistrate to hold a new prelimi-
nary enquiry or continue the preliminary enquiry in the
interest of justice and with consent of parties," the letter
to Mendes stated.
Ayers-Caesar was appointed a High Court Judge on April
12. She resigned within two weeks due to the public furore
over the cases she left incomplete.
Ayers-Caesar originally provided a list to Chief
Justice Ivor Archie stating there were 28 matters
outstanding. An independent audit initiated by
Archie revealed there were actually 52 part-heard
The Judiciary held a stakeholder meeting and
had announced that the cases would have be re-
started. However, it later reversed its position saying that
the decision rests with Gaspard. Ayers-Caesar had since
sued Archie, the Judicial and Legal Service Commission
(JLSC) claiming that she was pressured to resign.
In her affidavit filed in the case last week, Ayers-Cae-
sar said she did not intend to mislead Archie about the
number of matters she had outstanding but was supplied
her information by the Note Taking Unit of the Port of
Spain Magistrates' Court.
She also suggested that the cases could have been dealt
with by other magistrates as done in the past.
As AG proposes legislation
to tackle Marcia cases
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