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Saturday, 31 December 2016

Making reports at any police station

You may be unlucky enough to walk into a police station where the people in uniform are lazy, clueless and just corrupt, so they'll tell you some nonsense about not being able to make a report at a certain station because it's "out of their area". Well, the next time you hear that crap, call one (or all) of the TTPS Division Heads. 

When Dwayne Gibbs was CoP, he insisted that this be done, but silly Trinbagonians chased him away and we ended up with the most illiterate CoP the country has ever seen in Stephen Williams. At least now they have finally decided to enforce what Gibbs had already put in place. Better late than never, I guess...

Monday, 7 November 2016

Criminal Justice Injustice

On 7th November 2016, the Trinidad Express newspaper published an article entitled LOST IN JAILwritten by journalist, Nikita Braxton-Benjamin.

After reading this story, we - as a people living in a civilised society governed by the rule of law and being a place where every one has rights - cannot continue to sit by and allow this and other similar kinds of injustices to exist and continue. Being in prison does not mean that a person has to suffer any type of injustice that the system decides to mete out.

This kind of injustice has to stop! I am fed up and frustrated with this unjust nonsense.

If you are aware of any case where a person suffered police brutality, was wrongfully arrestedmaliciously charged and/or prosecuted or is being unlawfully imprisoned like 42-year-old, mentally challenged Terrence Prince, please contact me directly by e-mail, or preferably, leave a comment below with information to reach you.

This is going to be Trinidad and Tobago's version of the Equal Justice Initiative.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Illegal gun possession and usage

Q: Since photos emerged of two armed civilians believed to be the minor children of Attorney-General, Faris Al-Wari, I have been asked if any laws have been broken. 
A: Yes, Several laws have been broken.

8. (1) A person who gives, sells, lends or rents a firearm or ammunition to a child commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of fifty thousand dollars and to imprisonment for ten  years.

6. (1) Subject to section 7, a person may purchase, acquire or have in his possession a firearm or ammunition only if he holds a Firearm User’s Licence with respect to such firearm or ammunition.

9. (1) Any person who sells or transfers a firearm or ammunition to any other person who does not hold or who is not exempted from holding a Firearm User’s Licence is liable—
(a) on summary conviction to a fine of seventy-five thousand dollars or imprisonment for eight years; or
(b) on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for fifteen years.

(2) Any person is liable on summary conviction to a fine of forty thousand dollars or to imprisonment for ten years who purchase or acquire from, sells or transfers a firearm or ammunition to, or repairs, tests or proves any firearm or ammunition for, any other person whom he knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, to be—
(a) ...; 
(b) ...; 
(c) ...; or 
(d) under the age of twenty-five years.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Automatic Bail Denial is Unconstitutional

On 30th January 2015, Senior Counsel and former Attorney-General, Anand Ramlogan introduced into parliament, The Bail (Amendment) Bill 2015.

Before that, on 18th January 2015, I wrote, in my weekly Sunday column in the Newsday, an article entitled: Denying bail is denying justice. In it, I explained why the automatic 120-day no-bail clause was Unconstitutional, null, void and of no legal effect.

However, in blatant disregard for the provisions of the Constitution, The Bail Amendment Act 2015 was assented to and came into effect on 29th April 2015, with a ‘sunset clause’ in place for the Bill to expire on 15th August 2016.

Prior to the Bill’s expiration, the current Attorney-General, Faris Al-Wari attempted to convince the People’s Partnership (PP) opposition (under whom the Bill was first passed) to extend the Bill beyond the expiration date – a further two (2) years to be exact.

Prior to this, on 26th June 2016, I wrote another column entitled Bail Amendment Dishonesty exposing the knowing and deliberate infringement of the Constitutional rights of individuals in our society by both the People’s National Movement and the PP whenever they got the opportunity. In parliament, on 1st July 2016, my article was referenced by UNC opposition member David Lee, MP for Point-a-Pierre on page 158 ( to justify the Opposition’s refusal to extend the Bill’s existence as per Faris’ request.

Almost two years later and after hundreds were arrested and denied bail, the High Court - from the mouth of one of the most progressive, knowledgeable, fearless and unbiased judges in the country, Justice Carol Gobin - finally declared that the automatic denial of bail is in fact unconstitutional. The full judgement is not yet available online, but you can read the newspaper reports in the  Newsday and the Guardian

It is important to note that after passing a law he KNEW to be Unconstitutional, Anand Ramlogan was the attorney representing one of the people bringing the claim. So he passed an 'illegal' law and then turned around to benefit from that illegality. Have you ever seen or heard of anything more dishonest and crooked? 

And not only does this mean that anyone held under this law can no longer be unlawfully held without reason, it also means that they can sue the state for their unlawful detention – another burden on tax payers during this time of economic crisis. The government caused this and now WE, THE PEOPLE, have to pay.

What this proves Trinidad and Tobago is that we cannot even trust the highest ranking legal minds in this country because they are ignorant and dishonest. These two men, Anand and Faris, held/hold the highest legal office in the government and although they should be doing what is best for Trinidad and Tobago, they continuously deceived us to conceal their incompetence and inability to deal with crime.

The PNM and the PP CANNOT be trusted. Do not continue to let these lying dictators run this country.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

R.I.P. Patrick Manning

It is a sad day every time Trinidad and Tobago loses a patriot, but it's even sadder when that person was a former Prime Minister. Condolences to Mrs. Hazel Manning and the Manning family. Stay strong!

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Tenancy at Sufferance v Trespasser

Q: I have a tenant who refuses to move despite numerous eviction letters. He continues to pay rent directly into our bank account, blatantly ignoring our notices to quit. He has been advised that he has ongoing rights as long as he continues to pay rent, despite our opposition. Isn’t this trespassing?
A: A Tenancy at Sufferance, also called "Estate at Sufferance" or "Holdover Tenancy", is when a lawful tenant remains on property after the lease has expired or been terminated. While the tenant’s continued occupation may seem like trespassing, he is a Tenant at Sufferance because, at one point in time, you, the landlord, lawfully rented the premises to him. However, while not a trespasser, the tenant is in wrongful possession of the property; therefore all monies paid would be deemed to be Mesne Profits, and not rent, so you have all rights to evict at any point.

Get a court order and then get a Bailiff.

A Trespasser or Disseisor, on the other hand, never had lawful possession of the property.

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

(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.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Self-Representation at Magistrates' Court

Q: The Magistrate at the San Fernando Court told me that I must get a lawyer even after I told her I could not afford one. Do I have to get a lawyer?

A: This happens quite often because unfortunately, a lot of judges and magistrates in Trinidad & Tobago barely know the law themselves. It seems like a big scam where these people on the bench collude with lawyers to rip off the citizens of our country.

Every person has the statutory right to represent him/herself at the Magistrates' Court and NO Magistrate can force you to retain an attorney... NONE!

According to the Petty Civil Courts Act 1911, as amended:

 35. (1) Any party may appear at the hearing to conduct his action in person OR may be represented by an Attorney-at-law.

(2) Any person may appear and conduct the case of his wife or child or servant being a member of his household. (this means that a husband may represent his wife or child)

(3) Subject as aforesaid no person, not being an Attorney-at-law duly retained, shall be heard on behalf of any party to any action or other proceeding (this means that, for example, your law student nephew cannot represent you at court)

Despite this, I would always suggest that if your matter may involve imprisonment you should retain legal counsel, but at the end of the day, it's still your choice.

Beware of the legal fraternity mafia!

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Taxes on severance benefits

Q: I would like to find out if an employee was given the 45 days notice on a redundancy and they took the option of payment In Lieu of notice, would this amount be taxed?

A: According to section 5(6) of the Income Tax Act 1938, as amended,

"... where under a contract of employment the employer is liable to pay an amount by way of severance pay upon the termination of the employment of an employee by reason of the redundancy of the position held by the employee or upon the retirement, or other termination of the employment, by reason of ill-health—

  • (a) so much of the amount as does not exceed three hundred thousand dollars shall be exempt from tax

*Section 5(7) gives a definition of the term:“severance pay” includes any payment in lieu of notice and any payment made in relation to past service of the employee;

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Joint Tenancy v Intestacy

My intestate father died leaving his estate. Although you informed me that his wife gets half and the children the other half; if his properties were Joint Tenancy with his wife, are the children still entitled to half his estate?

In a joint tenancy, intestacy rules do not apply. Instead, we must rely on the “right of survivorship”. Survivorship means that when a Joint Tenant dies, his/her heirs have no claim in the property because the property is left for the surviving joint tenants ONLY.

This is usually a problem when a step-parent comes into the picture and s/he doesn't have a good relationship with the children from a previous relationship - those children usually get nothing.