A High Court judge on Tuesday ordered the State to return to a small business owner from Plymouth, a quantity of cash which was seized from her in November 2015.
Justice Devindra Rampersad further ordered that some of the money be returned in US dollars and TT currency. It was agreed that the remaining cash, which included UK pounds and Surinamese dollars be returned in TT dollars. Kadisha Romeo had sued the State over a police officer’s failure to return more than $30,000 in assorted currency which was seized from her under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Romeo, of Bethesda Road, claimed Sgt Joel Forbes breached her rights when he failed to follow a magistrate’s order for the money to be returned to her.
The money—TT$15,001, US$2003 and a small quantity of other currency—was seized from the woman’s clothing and cosmetics store on November 20, 2015. Senior Magistrate Lucina Cardenas-Ragoonanan ordered that the cash be released on December 14 last year. It was not until Romeo filed her lawsuit did the State agree to return the money, but in TT currency.
This was objected to by Romeo’s attorneys Kelvin Ramkissoon and Sonya Gyan and on Tuesday the judge ordered that the US currency be returned in that denomination while the smaller sums can be returned in TT dollars.
The State has been given until January 15 to repay the money and ordered that interest be added to the amount, in accordance with the rate of interest given by the Second Scheme of the Unit Trust Corporation. The State was also ordered to pay Romeo’s legal bills in the sum of $20,000.