Chief Magistrate Sherman McNicolls is expected to appear before a Port-of-Spain Magistrate today to answer a charge of allegedly permitting a police constable to drive his vehicle without a valid certificate of insurance. Mc Nicolls' bodyguard, PC Sean Simon is also expected to make an appearance before Sixth Court Magistrate Debbie Ann-Bassaw. Simon, an officer assigned to Special Branch, was also charged with driving a vehicle without a valid certificate of insurance. Both were charged via summonses under the Motor Vehicle and Insurance Act, Chapter 48:51 Section 3:1 on August 20.
If found guilty, the two face a maximum fine of $5,000 and could be sent to jail for two years. On August 19, the charges against the two were laid at the Port-of-Spain Magistrates' Court after senior police officers instructed that Mc Nicolls and Simon be charged with the alleged offence, two days before the statutory time frame for laying the charges was to expired. Summonses were obtained and served on Mc Nicolls and Simon at the Port-of-Spain Magistrates' Court the following day. Mc Nicolls is not the first presiding magistrate to be charged with a traffic offence.
Last November, Senior Magistrate Jo-Anne Connor was before Mc Nicolls in the Port-of-Spain Magistrates' Court on three traffic charges. Connor was later acquitted, after Mc Nicolls ruled that the Transport officer, who laid the charges, had no authority under the law to do so. The prosecution is claiming that on February 20, 2009, Mc Nicolls permitted Simon to drive his Hi-Lux van along the Lady Young Road, Belmont. The charges, police said, stemmed from an accident in which a vehicle, driven by a woman of Mt Hope, collided with the vehicle driven by Simon. The woman later made a report at Belmont Police Station, while Simon reported the accident later that night at Princes Town Police Station. Cpl Rakesh Ramsook, of the Belmont Police, investigated the matter and laid the charges.