|Teen murder accused ordered removed from YTC |
By Darcel Choy Friday, August 21 2015
A High Court Judge yesterday ordered the removal of a 14-year-old murder accused from the Youth Training Centre (YTC). Justice Vasheist Kokaram gave the Children’s Authority until August 28 to find suitable accommodation for him. The matter was heard in the Hall of Justice, Port-of- Spain.
The boy was remanded to the YTC, last year after he and his then 16-year-old sister were charged with murdering Diego Martin mechanic Dulraj Deodath, 52, sometime between January 16 and 19, 2014. An autopsy revealed that Deodath sustained blunt force trauma to the head.
In an oral ruling, Kokaram noted that according to the Children’s Authority Act, a child should be placed in a community residence. However, the Authority has not identified and licensed any community residences as it was established almost three months ago.
Referring to the Act, Kokaram said, in its definition of a community residence, the YTC was not such an institution.
He said the YTC was an institution for persons between the ages of 16 to 18 who are the subject of detention.
Kokaram said the boy, in documents presented to the court, indicated that he was the subject of bullying and assault while at the YTC although there was no medical evidence to accompany the claim.
In their previous deliberations, Kokaram said three options were given for the boy - that he be placed in a licensed community residence; that he remain at the YTC or be transferred to the St Michael’s Home for Boys in Diego Martin until a more suitable community residence was found.
The boy’s attorney Senior Counsel Anand Ramlogan also suggested that the boy be placed in his mother’s care until a proper location can be determined.
Kokaram noted that murder was not a bailable offence and the boy allegedly committed the offence whilst in his mother’s care.
Ramlogan expressed concern over Kokaram’s ruling stating that the Authority might not find appropriate accommodation for his client in the time given.
“There might be a situation where they come back and say there are no suitable facilities in Trinidad and Tobago. Then what are we going to do?” he asked.
Kokaram also ordered that the Prison Service provide the Court with the number of juvenile offenders on remand at the institution, their names and date of birth. They are also to permit the Children’s Authority to inspect the accommodation for such children.
The Authority has also been ordered to appoint a Children’s Attorney within seven days and to conduct a medical assessment of the boy within 14 days.
He also instructed the Authority to conduct an assessment of the accommodation at the St Michael’s Home.
The matter was adjourned to September 3.
The teen was also represented by attorneys Gerald Ramdeen, and Varun Debideen while the state was represented by attorney Karel Douglas.