“Does being so far out at sea in a small pirogue require courage?” I ask him.
Twenty-six-year-old Simba Garraway chuckles.
No charges are to be laid against former minister of tourism and Fyzabad MP Chandresh Sharma in a criminal assault investigation. That’s the directive of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard who found that there was no reasonable prospect of a conviction. Instead, he found that it was Sharma was acted in self-defence while under attack by two women. The reasons for the DPP’s decision was sent to the Commissioner of Police yesterday, a copy of which was obtained by the T&T Guardian.
Sharma was accused of assaulting his former girlfriend, Sacha Singh, at Grand Bazaar, Valsayn, on March 12. He resigned from his ministerial post on March 31. Singh, a businesswoman who owns AMS Biotech Security Concepts of Piarco Plaza, claimed she was struck after she confronted Sharma about a child in the presence of the child’s mother, Geeta Maharaj, in the mall’s carpark.
Singh arranged to meet Sharma and unknown to him brought Maharaj, a schoolteacher. During the meeting Maharaj admitted to kicking and hitting Sharma about his head and shoulders while Singh grabbed his tie. The businesswoman claimed Sharma slapped her and pushed her causing her to knock her head against the car where for a brief moment she lost consciousness. The next day Singh reported the matter to Sgt Ogiste of the St Joseph Police Station.
“It is noteworthy that Ms Singh fails to mention Ms Maharaj’s attack on Mr Sharma, at this early stage,” Gaspard noted. He stated that at the police station Singh recalled what happened leaving out that Maharaj was hitting Sharma. Singh told the police she and Maharaj were pointing their hands in Sharma’s face and were calling him names. Singh then grabbed on to Sharma’s tie and began pulling it before he struck her in the face and pushed her off, causing her to fall and to lose consciousness.
Maharaj’s statement to the police was that she physically attacked Sharma with the assistance of Singh. She added that during the altercation Singh “was at all material times sitting inside of the vehicle.” Maharaj added that while the scuffle was going on she heard a noise like a “knock” and then saw Singh move from the driver’s seat to the front passenger seat, where Sharma was.
After exiting the car, Maharaj said Singh appeared to be fainting. When she tried to help, Singh told her to let her fall. By that time Sharma returned with water for Singh. Maharaj said she never saw Sharma strike Singh. Another witness, Rajesh Singh, told police he witnessed a scuffle between Sharma and a young slim lady, during which the lady fell to the ground. At the time Singh was parked less than 60 feet away and nothing was blocking his view.
Gaspard stated: “It is rather curious that he makes no mention of Ms Singh’s role or participation in the dispute, especially since both Ms Singh and Ms Maharaj have admitted that they were involved in the fracas. “It should be noted that he has indicated to the police that he did not want anything to do with court. It should also be noted that he contacted and spoke to Ms Singh after the incident before deciding to report to the police.
“When the police taxed Mr Sharma with Ms Singh’s allegations, Mr Sharma chose to remain silent. That is his right. “On the totality of the evidence, I am of the considered opinion that: “Ms Singh’s allegation of assault at the hands of Mr Sharma is uncorroborated and maybe hobbled by certain credibility factors; “Ms Singh’s version of the events surrounding the altercation violently collides with that of Ms Maharaj, in certain material aspects;
“Taking Ms Singh’s evidence at its highest, the issue of self-defence is raised in favour of Mr Sharma, especially since there is no evidentiary basis so as to have it negatived on any reasonable view of the evidence. “Moreover, the evidence does not suggest that Mr Sharma had used excessive force to repel the attacks of Ms Singh and her confederate, bearing in mind that he cannot be expected to weigh with geometric precision his acts in self-defence.”
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