Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 1st 2013 Contents A9
Thursday, August 1, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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for JULY 31st 2013
The Appeal Court has appealed to Government
to reform the conditions at the Remand Yard.
In a 23-page judgment yesterday, the court awarded
$300,000 in compensation to a Siparia taxi driver,
who spent six days in remand after being falsely
accused of a robbery offence.
In considering the prison conditions he endured,
Justice Peter Jamadhar described the Remand Yard
facility as unacceptable and "sub-human."
The Remand Yard holds accused people awaiting
trial who have been denied bail or who are unable
to raise their bail.
Jamadhar said: "This treatment and these condi-
tions amounted to degrading and inhuman treatment
which also was oppressive and over the threshold of
degradation which is acceptable as part of the expected
consequences of incarceration in the remand section
of the prison in Trinidad."
He said the conditions should not be allowed to
"It is our hope that the observations made in this
case will prompt the State to initiate immediate
reform so as to avoid the continuation of this most
unacceptable and oppressive, if not unconstitutional,
state of affairs that exists in relation to detention at
Remand Yard," Jamadhar said.
Justice Nolan Bereaux, in his contribution to the
judgment, also suggested prison reform.
He said: "Our concern must be, particularly, to
ameliorate the conditions under which persons
interned for protracted periods live. Any attempt to
Longstanding veteran editor of the Mirror news-
paper Jeff Hackett has resigned, leaving the news-
room in a tailspin.
Several journalists employed at the weekly publication
said they were frustrated because they believed he
resigned because of political pressure from the news-
paper s new general manager, Rex Chookolingo.
Insiders said Hackett tendered his resignation on
Tuesday after an exchange of words with Chookolingo.
It took immediate effect.
A source said: "We are really upset because right
now we have a cartoonist editing the paper. All they
want to do is put political cartoons on the front page
instead of breaking stories. They did not want our
editor to do his job, so he resigned."
Under the former owner Maxie Cuffie the Mirror
regained its reputation for hard-hitting stories.
Cuffie, a Sunday Guardian columnist, is the owner
of Integrated Media Company Ltd (iMC), which
acquired the Mirror Group Publication Ltd (MGPL)
in 2011. However, a year later when the lease ended,
Jack Warner made moves to buy the paper. The deal
fell through and Chookolingo was put in charge of the
Hackett, who became editor in 2007, denied yes-
terday he resigned because of political pressure.
"I want to state that it was not because of political
pressure. It was nothing like that," he said.
Asked why he had resigned, Hackett said: "Ask Rex,
ask him why I resigned."
Saying his stint with the Mirror was "past tense,"
Hackett said he did not want to comment because he
did not believe in recriminations.
Asked what he planned to do, Hackett said: "I am
now 70 years old. I have spent 50 years in journalism.
I think it is now time for me to enjoy life.
"At some stage you realise it s time you live life. I
have dogs to play with and birds to see about. I may
say I will go into consultancy but that is a fancy word
for being unemployed."
Quizzed as to whether his decision to leave the
Mirror had to do with managerial conflict, Hackett
said: "If you want to say that, go ahead but ask Rex
Chookolingo. It has nothing to do with politics. "
Contacted at his office, Chookolingo refused to
divulge whether Hackett had resigned because of polit-
When asked, he burst out laughing, then said: "Don t
ask me. He is the one who resigned, ask him. You
have to ask him, I don t know why he resigned, sorry,
Hackett worked as a senior reporter at the Mirror
before moving up the ranks to assume the post of
editor. Staff said he was well respected and his departure
from the newsroom had left employees depressed.
As taxi driver awarded $300,000...
Judges: Spruce-up Remand
Yard sub-human conditions
address these conditions must also
address the core problem of overcrowd-
ing and its cause."
Bereaux also said in considering
prison reform, the Government should
examine factors which affected the
He added: "Sociological factors con-
tribute. They go to the root cause. Cor-
rective measures must embrace them
and may even require a wholesale
rethink of the issue of punishment.
"Some may say that the simple
answer is the construction of more
prisons... too simple an answer others
The driver, Thadeus Clement,
sued the State for malicious
prosecution after he was
arrested and charged for a
robbery in October 2004.
The charges were dropped in
April 2007 after the alleged
victim failed to attend court on
In his lawsuit, Clement said
the criminal charge damaged
his reputation and deprived him
of his liberty.
"As a taxi driver I suffered
greatly because prospective
passengers refused to travel
with me," Clement said in his
He also spoke about his brief
stint in prison, describing the
conditions as "filthy and
deplorable. The week I spent at
Remand Yard was the worst
week of my life. I would not
want even my worst enemy to
go through what I did."
In April 2010, Clement won
his lawsuit and was awarded
$92,000 in general damages
and $8,000 in special damages,
He appealed, claiming the
amount was too small.
The Appeal Court agreed and
ordered that Clement should be
paid $160,000 in general
damages and $8,000 in special
damages, plus interest, as well
as his legal costs for the appeal
and original lawsuit.
Clement was represented by
Gerald Ramdeen, Kent Samlal
and Abdel Mohammed.
Rachel Thurab represented
THADEUS CLEMENT'S CASE
Chloe Canipbell and Tsian John perform an African dance during the Ministry of
the Attorney General's Emancipation Celebrations, at the ministry, Port-of-
Spain, yesterday. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
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