Trinidad and Tobago
This article was added by the user . TheWorldNews is not responsible for the content of the platform.

Tobago pair freed of sexual-offences charges over delay by DPP’s office, police

Jada Loutoo File photo -
File photo -

After almost a decade, a Tobago fireman and his former girlfriend were freed on Wednesday of seven sexual-offences charges owing to the protracted delay by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the police in prosecuting inquiry.

In a ruling, senior magistrate Rajendra Rambachan upheld an application by lawyers for the two to have the matter discharged.

Attorney Martin George argued it was unfair and unjust to continue the case because of the prosecution’s failure to progress it. Rambachan agreed.

The couple were charged on November 6, 2014, with acts of grievous sexual assault against a then-schoolgirl and track star in Mason Hall, Tobago, between August 31 and October 1, 2014.

George gave the court a timeline to support his contention that the prosecution was tardy and at fault. It showed the matter was fixed for trial several times – spanning August 2015-July 2021 – but was repeatedly adjourned, leaving his clients in abeyance.

Several reasons were given for the repeated adjournments, including the absence of either the police or the victim. It also took three years for a state counsel from the DPP’s office to be assigned to the case, and even after that, the prosecution sought an adjournment as it was not ready to proceed.

There were several other adjournments for the same reason and new trial dates had to be fixed and again aborted up to 2020, by which time the victim had migrated and there had to be an application to have her statements admitted into evidence in her absence.

The case was also re-assigned a few times to new prosecutors. Over the years, different magistrates have also presided over the matter.

The last scheduling of a trial was June 29, 2022. When that hearing did not proceed, George filed the application to have his clients discharged because of an abuse of process.