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Court throws out ex-murder accused lawsuit against State
A High Court judge has thrown out a malicious prosecution lawsuit brought by a 51-year-old man from Moruga who was freed of a murder charge after the State failed to present evidence against him on trial. In dismissing the claim, Justice Frank Seepersad ruled that homicide detective Cpl Glen Alpheus had reasonable and probable cause to charge Primnath Rampersad with murder and did not act in malice.
“On the evidence before this court there is nothing to suggest that Alpheus acted with any purpose other than securing the ends of justice and the court finds that the complainant Alpheus acted honestly, without ill will and that he had no desire other than pursuing his bona-fide belief in doing what he perceived to be right in the interest of justice,” Seepersad said. In July,1998, Rampersad and his brother, David, 49, both of Petit Cafe Road, Moruga, were jointly charged with the murder of 25-year-old mechanic Barry Lee Young.
However, when their trial began in the San Fernando High Court, State prosecutors failed to produce evidence against Rampersad, leading to his automatic discharge. Lee Young, of Fifth Company, Moruga, was stabbed during a fight outside a bar at Nabbie’s Junction, Petit Cafe, Princes Town, on June 27 that year. He died the following day at the San Fernando General Hospital.
In his 11-page judgment, Seepersad said after analysing the evidence in the case, he formed the opinion that Alpheus had no choice to lay the charge as he had taken statements from several eyewitness at the bar which implicated Rampersad. Among the witnesses was Lee Young’s sister, Jermaine, who testified that while being taken to hospital, her brother identified Rampersad and David as his attackers.
He said: “This court is convinced on a balance of probabilities that prior to the institution of the charge of murder there was the existence of a state of circumstances which, assuming them to be true, would have reasonably led any ordinary prudent and cautious man, placed in Alpheus’s position, to come to the conclusion that the claimant was probably guilty of the crime of murder.”
In assessing Rampersad’s evidence, Seepersad said while there were some inconsistencies, none were material to the case. Rampersad was represented by Jagdeo Singh. Linda Gopee-Khan and Brent James appeared for the State.