One of the six police officers charged with murdering three friends from Moruga in 2011 has been given the green light to sue the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) over delays in starting their trial.
On Friday, High Court judge Ronnie Boodoosingh granted lawyers representing PC Safraz Juman leave to pursue his judicial review claim over the failure of the DPP’s Office to file an indictment against him and his colleagues since the end of their preliminary inquiry, almost five years ago.
The filing of the indictment after the inquiry is required to allow for the case to listed on the trial list in the High Court.
It does not guarantee an early trial date as there is already a backlog of cases that have been filed and are awaiting trail dates.
Juman is complaining that the delay is affecting his ability to present his defence as his defence witnesses are either seriously ill or in the process of migrating.
According to his application, Juman is questioning why the indictment has not been filed after they were committed to stand trial at the end of their preliminary inquiry in Princes Town Magistrates’ Court on July 15, 2013.
Usually the process takes between two to three years as there are delays in depositions from witnesses in preliminary inquires being prepared and sent to the DPP’s Office, to be filed along with the indictments.
In his lawsuit, Juman’s lawyers noted that the depositions were sent in September 2015 and were collected by DPP Roger Gapsard, SC, who is personally prosecuting the case.
Alana Duncan, 27, of Duncan Village, San Fernando, Kerron Eccles, 29, and 20-year-old Abigail Johnson, both of St Mary’s Village, Moruga, were killed on July 22, 2011.
The friends were driving in Duncan’s vehicle when it was stopped by police at the corner of Rochard Douglas Road and Guness Trace Junction in Barrackpore.
Initial reports claimed that the friends shot at police, who returned fire.
Sgt Khemraj Sahadeo and PCs Renaldo Reviero, Glenn Singh, Roger Nicholas, Safraz Juman, Antonio Ramadin and Clement were eventually charged with the murders.
The charge against Clement was eventually dropped after she agreed to testify against her former colleagues of the San Fernando Robbery Squad.
The friends’ relatives have filed a wrongful death case against the State seeking $2 million in compensation for each family.
When the case came up for trial in February, the State failed to call any witnesses to defend the multi-million negligence claim.
Source: www.guardian.co.tt (Derek Achong)