Last update: 07-Dec-2013 3:12 am
Saturday, December 07, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Honest cop rewarded for not taking bribe
A San Fernando magistrate has commended a policeman for not accepting a $27,016 bribe to forgo a $1,000 ticket, saying that his actions should serve as an example to fellow law enforcement officers. Police Constable Shawn Seeth, who is assigned to the Barrackpore Police Station, was also awarded $500, the highest amount an officer could receive for excellent work under the Police Service Act.
On Wednesday, the officer arrested and charged Shivanand Rampersad, 32, of Barrackpore, with offering a bribe to a policeman and resisting arrest. On Thursday, Rampersad pleaded guilty to the charges before Fourth Court Magistrate Indar Jagroo. Prosecutor Sgt Chanardath Jhilmit said around 10 pm on Wednesday, Seeth and other officers were on mobile patrol duty when he heard loud music coming from a parked black Mazda pickup at Jamoni Trace, Debe.
Rampersad was the driver of the car. The officer examined Rampersad’s driver’s permit and certificate of insurance, which were valid. The officer then told Rampersad of the offence of playing loud music in his vehicle and began writing up a ticket. The court heard that Rampersad took out a stack of money wrapped in rubber band and offered the officer the money, saying, “Officer I kill them in the casino tonight, take something and leh we forget that.”
Instead, Seeth told him that offering a police officer a bribe was an offence and held on to his hand. However, Rampersad began pulling away his hand violently, but with the assistance of other officers Rampersad was subdued. Rampersad told the magistrate that he worked as a machinist, but in April he was fixing a truck when it fell on his face, injuring his cheek bone and jaw. He spent three weeks in the hospital, he said. “I have no choice but to gamble to make money. I not working,” he said.
Asked to explain his actions, Rampersad said he was drinking beers. The magistrate ordered him to pay $3,000 for offering an officer a bribe, failing which he will serve six months in jail, and pay a $1,000 fine for resisting arrest or serve three months. The magistrate ordered that the fines be paid out of the $27,016 which Rampersad won in the casino and that the rest of the money be returned to Rampersad.
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