Thursday, 12 May 2016

Paternity Testing and removing father's name from birth certificate

Q: Hi, for seven years, I was made to believe that I was the father of a child, but I have doubts. What can I do?
 A: The first step is to have a paternity test done. One place to get it done is:
Trinidad and Tobago Forensic Science Centre
Barbados Road, Federation Park 
St Clair, Port of Spain
Tel: +1 868 622-1011 or 622-2167


The cost as of now is $500 per swab. So, as father, that’s $1000 (baby and yourself). The test involves Macroscopic and DNA analyses.

·         If the tests prove that you are not the father and your name is not on the birth certificate, you’re fine.
·         If the tests prove that you are not the father and your name is on the birth certificate, you will have to visit an Attorney to apply for a court order to have it removed (important to have done).


Based on my experience in the legal profession, I would advise any man with just an ounce of doubt to get this test done. 

Friday, 6 May 2016

Speeding Law: the Radar Gun edition

Q: What is the law regarding speeding in Trinidad and Tobago?

 A: Everything a motorist needs to know about speeding in Trinidad and Tobago can be found under section 62 of the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act 1934, as amended:
62.       (1) Subject as hereinafter provided, it shall not be lawful for any person to drive a motor vehicle of any class or description on any road— ... at a speed greater than the speed specified in the Second Schedule
(5) Any person who drives a motor vehicle on any road in contravention of the provisions of subsection (1) is liable to a fine of four thousand dollars (**NB: this conflicts with item 68 of the First Schedule of the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic (Enforcement and Administration) Act 1978, as amended which stipulates $1000) and to be disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving permit for such period as the Court shall think fit.
(6) A constable may use a speed measuring device for the purposes of measuring the speed at which a person is driving a motor vehicle

PROCEDURE FOR ISSUING A SPEEDING TICKET
(6B) Before using a speed measuring device on any day, a constable shall satisfy himself that the device is—
(a) in a satisfactory condition; and
(b) properly calibrated so that it indicates speed readings within a limit of error not greater or less than two kilometres per hour of the true speeds,
after which the constable shall enter into the device his name, regimental number and the speed limit of the area where the speed check is to be conducted.

(6C) A constable shall, after complying with subsection (6B), record in a log book for that purpose, an entry stating that he has complied with subsection (6B).

(6D) A constable who determines with the use of a speed measuring device that a motor vehicle has exceeded the speed limit, shall cause the motor vehicle to be stopped.

(6E) Where a motor vehicle is stopped pursuant to subsection (6D), a constable shall—
(a) inform the driver of the motor vehicle that he has—
(i) exceeded the speed limit as determined with the use of a speed measuring device; and
(ii) committed an offence under subsection (5);

(b) deliver to the driver of the motor vehicle a printout from the speed measuring device which—
(i) purports to be evidence of the speed at which the driver was driving the motor vehicle;
(ii) includes a photograph of the vehicle identifying the registration plate;
(iii) bears an endorsement by the constable who operated the device, stating the date and time of the offence, the place where the offence occurred and that the constable is qualified to operate the device; and
(iv) bears the signature of the constable who operated the device.

(6F) In proceedings for an offence under subsection (5) in which evidence is given of a measurement of speed obtained by the use of a speed measuring device, a certificate purporting to be signed by a constable certifying that—
(a) he is certified by the Commissioner of Police as being qualified to operate a speed measuring device;
(b) the speed measuring device used by him to measure the speed at which the accused was driving the motor vehicle was approved by the Minister under subsection (6A);
(c) the measurement was made on the date and completed at the time stated in the certificate;
(d) the speed measured by the device and expressed in kilometres per hour was the speed at which the accused was driving the motor vehicle on the date and time stated in the certificate; and
(e) the constable satisfied himself before using the device, that the device was in a satisfactory condition and properly calibrated in accordance with subsection (6B),
is admissible and is prima facie evidence of the particulars certified in and by the certificate.

(6G) In proceedings for an offence under subsection (5)—
(a) evidence may be given of the speed at which the accused was driving the motor vehicle as determined with the use of a speed measuring device operated by a constable who is certified by the Commissioner of Police as being qualified to operate the device; and
(b) the speed so determined shall be deemed to be the speed at which the accused was driving the motor vehicle, unless the accused proves otherwise.

(6H) In proceedings for an offence under subsection (5), a certificate purporting to be signed by the Commissioner of Police that a constable named therein is qualified to operate a speed measuring device is admissible and is prima facie evidence of the particulars certified in and by the certificate.

(6I) In proceedings for an offence under subsection (5), evidence of the condition of a speed measuring device shall not be required unless evidence that the instrument was not in a satisfactory condition has been adduced.

(6J) In proceedings for an offence under subsection (5), a document purporting to be evidence of the speed at which a person was driving a motor vehicle shall not be admissible as evidence, unless a copy of it has been delivered to the accused.


Saturday, 23 April 2016

Imprisonment with hard labour

Q: Recently, I heard on the news that someone was sentence to hard labour. What is hard labour in Trinidad and Tobago? 
Inmates at the Golden Grove Prison, Arouca
A: According to the Prisons Act 1900, as amended:
·         6(2) Any person who may have been sentenced to imprisonment with hard labour may lawfully be kept and worked at hard labour on any highway, road, street or public place, or in any other place beyond the precincts of any prison which the Minister may from time to time by writing under his hand authorise and appoint.