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State settles SoE lawsuits

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The State has agreed to pay a little over $400,000 in compensation to eight men from east Port-of-Spain, who were detained under the Anti-Gang legislation during the 2011 State of Emergency (SoE).

On Tuesday, State attorneys settled out-of-court the malicious prosecution and false imprisonment lawsuits filed by Akiel Sherwood, Kerwin Isaac, Kadeem and Richard Weekes, Jules Eligon, Derek Miller, Ronald Cobham and David Williams.

The orders were approved by High Court Judge Frank Seepersad.

Under the agreement, each man is expected to receive either $41,054.69 or $65,447.91, based on the length of time they were remanded into custody before their cases were withdrawn by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) because of insufficient evidence.

As part of the agreement, the men’s attorney agreed to withdraw their claims for malicious prosecution.

The State is expected to make more payouts over the next month as similar consent orders are expected to be done for six other men on March 27.

During the SoE, which lasted from September to December 2011, hundreds of suspected gang leaders and members were rounded up by police and charged under the controversial Anti-Gang Act. All were eventually freed by the DPP’s Office because there was no evidence submitted by the police to support their detention.

Most filed lawsuits after their release as the legislation denied them bail for 120 days.

The legislation eventually expired in 2013 due to its two-year sunset clause.

Parliament is currently deadlocked over the reintroduction of the legislation, with Government opposing the Opposition’s demand that a sunset clause be inserted once again.

The legislation requires a two-thirds majority.


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