INSTEAD of giving his decision in a wrongful death claim for compensation in a police killing, Justice Kevin Ramcharan yesterday stepped down from the case because of a conflict of interest.
Ramcharan, who was charged with driving under the influence on May 26, was yesterday expected to deliver his ruling in the claim filed by the families of the three people who were killed by six police offices in July 2011.
He gave no explanation of why he could no longer sit on the case or deliver his ruling when the matter came up for hearing in the Port of Spain High Court.
Attorney Keith Scotland, who represents the families of the three people killed, told the judge he has spoken to his clients.
It is understood that Ramcharan decided to step down from the case because Scotland is also one of the attorneys representing him in the drunk driving case in the magistrates courts.
Ramcharan was initially expected to give his decision on May 23 but pushed it back to yesterday’s date.
In the claim, the families of Alana Duncan, Kerron Eccles and Abigail Johnson are seeking close to $5 million in compensation under the Compensation of Injuries Act.
The killings sparked fiery protests and after three months of investigations, six police officers were charged with murder. In 2013, the policemen - Acting Sergeant Khemraj Sahadeo and Constables Renaldo Reviero, Glenn Singh, Roger Nicholas, Safraz Juman and Antonio Ramadin - were committed to stand trial for murder. The trial in the High Court is yet to start.
With time running out on them, the families of the three filed a civil wrongful death claim in July 2015, before the matter became statute-barred as would be the case after four years had elapsed from the time of the incident.
Duncan, 27, of Duncan Village, San Fernando, Eccles, 29, of Moruga Main Road, Moruga, and Johnson, 20, of Burton Trace, Moruga, were shot dead around 9 pm on July 22, 2011.