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Judge recuses self from police negligence case

Published: 
Friday, June 15, 2018

The relatives of three Moruga friends who were executed by police officers in 2011 will have to wait a bit longer for their multi-million dollar negligence claim to be determined.

Relatives of Alana Duncan, Kerron Eccles and Abigail Johnson were expecting Justice Kevin Ramcharan to deliver his judgment in the case yesterday, but when it was called in the Port-of-Spain High Court Ramcharan announced he was recusing himself.

His recusal was based on the fact that the relative’s lawyer, Keith Scotland, is a member of the legal team representing him (Ramcharan) in his ongoing case for drunk driving.

Once reassigned to another judge, the case is not expected to take too long to complete as the trial before Ramcharan lasted a day.

In the lawsuit, the relatives are alleging that the State was negligent in the three deaths due to the actions of its agents (police officers). Their lawyers are alleging the police fired on unarmed civilians and used excessive force.

In addition to compensation for the pain and suffering caused by their relatives’ deaths, they are seeking $1.95 million in special damages for loss of expectation of life and loss of earnings for each victim.

Duncan, 27, of Duncan Village, San Fernando, Eccles, 29 and 20-year-old Johnson, both of St Mary’s Village, Moruga, were killed on July 22, 2011.

The friends were driving in Duncan’s vehicle when it was stopped by police at the corner of Rochard Douglas Road and Gunness Trace Junction in Barrackpore. Initial reports claimed that the friends shot at police, who returned fire.

Sgt Khemraj Sahadeo and PCs Renaldo Reviero, Glenn Singh, Roger Nicholas, Safraz Juman, Antonio Ramadin and Clement were eventually charged with the murders. The charge against Clement was eventually dropped after she agreed to testify against her former colleagues of the San Fernando Robbery Squad.

In July 2013, the officers were committed to stand trial at the end of their preliminary inquiry. A date for their trial is yet to be set. The relatives are also being represented by Joel Roper.

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