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Charge against Griffith thrown out
The charge against Science and Technology Minister Dr Rupert Griffith for using insulting language has been dismissed. Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar dismissed it yesterday, after rejecting the prosecution’s application to amend the charge.
After he walked out of the Port-of-Spain Eighth Court, Griffith called on his colleague National Security Minister Jack Warner to “significantly discipline” the policeman who laid the charge. He also wants Warner to pursue officers who bring the service into disrepute by abusing their power. PC Larry Joefield of the Traffic Branch laid the charge.
Griffith also proclaimed his innocence. “I spent 11 days in court for something I did not do...I did not insult the police officer,” he said. Griffith, who is the MP for Toco/Sangre Grande, was charged with using “insulting language to the annoyance of persons” during an incident on March 8, 2012, at Dock Road, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain. He pleaded not guilty when he first appeared in court on May 21, 2012, before Magistrate Cheron Raphael.
Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, Griffith said he was never worried about the outcome. “There was really no valid charge before the court and it was the only ruling the magistrate could have made,” he said. However, Griffith was incensed by the behaviour of some officers and urged Warner to go after those who “aggressively go beyond the call of duty to abuse, insult and treat law-abiding citizens how they want.”
He recommended a behaviour-modification programme for them, in the interest of having a better Police Service. Admitting there were police officers who carried out their mandate to protect and serve, and who also risked their lives in the line of duty, Griffith said he had lived his entire life in T&T and had never been before the court, “charged or convicted of anything.”
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