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Monday, April 21, 2014
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Cop held during SoE for ‘plot’ against PM sues AG
Police Sgt Earl Elie, arrested for 13 days during the 2011 State of Emergency (SoE), is suing the Attorney General for unlawful arrest and detention.
Elie was arrested on November 23 and detained until December 5 when the SoE was lifted. It was only after six days in police custody that Elie learned he was arrested for allegedly being involved in a “conspiracy to assassinate” high-ranking government officials, including Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, Minister of Housing and the Environment Dr Roodal Moonilal and former minister of local government Dr Suruj Rambachan.
Elie’s lawyer, Nyala Badal, wrote to Ramlogan on December 4, informing him of the intended action. She said when Elie was released, he was not charged with any criminal offence. “There was no legal or factual basis to support such arrest and detention,” Badal said in the letter. “And to date, he has not been charged with any criminal offence.”
Badal said Elie was sent on five months’ leave after his release and suffered severe emotional stress before returning to the same job that he held prior to his arrest. He is posted at the St Clair Police Station. The lawyer said it was the same station responsible for the safety and security at the Office of the Prime Minister, as it “falls within the St Clair district.” “He continued performing the same duties until January 2012, when he was elevated to acting inspector,” she said.
The stigma of the arrest and embarrassment forced him to relocate and seek professional help through a police social worker and a psychologist. She said he suffered “psychological damage and injury to his feelings, humiliation, shame, degradation, loss of societal position, injury to his credit and professional reputation.” Badal said Elie’s arrest and detention violated his constitutional rights and was also a contravention of the common-law principles.
She said the arresting officer (named in the letter), did not have the “reasonable and probable cause to arrest and detain” Elie. Ramlogan’s office is expected to reply to this pre-action protocol letter within the next two weeks. In a text response to questions, Ramlogan said Senior Counsel Russel Martineau was “handling all such matters arising out of the SoE.”
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