The State has decided to challenge a $20 million award to nine men who were freed of the murder of businesswoman Vindra Naipaul-Coolman.
The Attorney General’s Office revealed the latest development in the matter via a media release yesterday.
“By way of continuing update, Senator the Honourable Reginald Armour SC, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, wishes to inform the public that on the advice of retained lead counsel Mr Rolston Nelson SC, an Application has today (yesterday) been filed in the High Court on behalf of the State in the matter of CV2020-01243 Shervon Peters & Others v The Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago, to set aside both the default judgment and the award of damages made against the State in favour of these Claimants,” it said.
It added that AG Armour awaits the fixing of the date for the hearing of the application “and remains consistent in his commitment to ensuring that the public continues to be updated on the progress of this matter.”
In January, High Court Master Martha Alexander ordered the compensation for Shervon and Devon Peters, their brother Anthony Gloster, Joel Fraser, Ronald Armstrong, brothers Keida and Jameel Garcia, Marlon Trimmingham, and Antonio Charles during her decision in their malicious prosecution case.
The group filed the lawsuit almost four years after they were freed of the charges in late May 2016.
The Office of the Attorney General entered an appearance in the case but failed to defend it, leading the group’s legal team, led by Anand Ramlogan SC, successfully obtaining a default judgment against it in January 2021.
Based on the original judgment, the nine former Diego Martin accused were each set to receive $2.1 million in compensation.
Soon after the ruling, AG Armour announced that the reason the state did not mount a defence was due to the fact that the case file went missing after it was delivered to the Solicitor General’s Office.
Amidst a public outcry, the AG launched a probe into the matter and hired retired High Court judge Stanley John to probe the mysterious disappearance of the file. During the early stages of the probe, however, John said it was revealed that the file had been returned to the Solicitor General’s Office.