Last update: 13-Dec-2013 3:20 am
Friday, December 13, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Moonilal: AG looking at tougher anti-gang laws
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan is reviewing anti-gang legislation with a view of strengthening it, Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal said yesterday. He made the comment during a site visit to road-paving works in Barrackpore, which falls within his Oropouche East constituency.
At the time he was responding to questions on whether he felt the release of 12 suspected gang members in east Port-of-Spain was a repeat of what happened during the 2011 state of emergency, when more than 400 alleged gang members were released without charge because of a lack of evidence. “In this case I think about 112 persons were detained, about 50 to 40 per cent were released,” said Moonilal.
“One trusts the police will have enough evidence and information to prosecute certain persons. About 50 persons or so may face prosecution.” He admitted that several issues would have influenced the police’s decision to the release the suspects. “It speaks of course to other issues of detection and the criminal offences, in particular the nature of those offences and the requirements of the prosecution to conduct a case,” he said.
“These are matters that, you know, we will continue to look at, but I am happy that at least 50 persons were, so the police believe they have sufficient evidence, working with the DPP, to undertake prosecution.” On threats of legal action by the 12 freed suspects, he said legal action was a right of all citizens who feel they were unjustly treated. However, he said the people who were arrested were well known to law enforcement officers and their sobriquets is “well-known suspects.”
Alluding to the setting up of a police/army post at Duncan Street, he said there was a lot of gang-related violence in east Port-of-Spain. “But I think we are undertaking a review of the gang legislation and the Attorney General will look at this matter to see how we can strengthen that law,” he said. “But in absence of that I am very happy that 50 to 60 of the persons they have held, they feel comfortable that they can prosecute.”
Satisfied with the police efforts to arrest gang rivalry in the east Port-of-Spain area, Moonilal said he was hopeful that in the new session of Parliament more legislation and harsher penalties would be introduced to assist the police in the fight against crime.
(with reporting by Rishi Ragoonath)
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