Missing files lead to hiccups in 2011 SoE payout

SIX men who were detained under the Anti-Gang legislation during the failed 2011 state of emergency (SoE) will have to wait a little longer to receive compensation agreed to by the state since their case files have gone missing.

The missing files and the need to have them “rebuilt” and returned to the Attorney General for his signature before the disbursement of compensation can be done.

It was expected that the out-of-court settlement between the state and the six would have been approved by High Court judge Frank Seepersad yesterday, however when the matters were called attorney for the state said the AG’s signature was required to sign off on the agreement and this could not be done since some of the files could not be located and are in the process of being “rebuilt.”

Seepersad said it was highly irregular, poor utilisation of the court’s time and a reinventing of the wheel since there was already an agreed position on the matters, which, he said, has been on the court’s list for a long time.

State attorney Corinne Findlay could not say how much more time was needed for the state to compile the new files.

The cases of the six men were adjourned to April 30.

Already as part of the settlement, the state has paid out a little over $400,000 in compensation to eight men who were detained during the 2011 SoE.

Under the agreement, each man is expected to receive either $41,054.69 or $65,447.91, based on the length of time they were remanded into custody before their cases were withdrawn by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) because of insufficient evidence.

As part of the agreement, the men’s attorney agreed to withdraw their claims for malicious prosecution.

Hundreds of people were detained during the limited state of emergency called by then prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on August 21, 2011, which ended on December 6 of that year, in response to a wave of violent crime.

Many of those arrested were charged under the Anti-Gang Act and during that time were discharged on the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions owing to lack of evidence.

A rash of lawsuits soon followed and the state was forced to pay out hundreds of thousands in malicious prosecution and false imprisonment cases.

The former detainees were represented by attorney Ronald Simon.


"Missing files lead to hiccups in 2011 SoE payout"

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