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Monday 20 May 2019
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Judge stays indictment; former cop freed

A HIGH COURT judge has stayed an indictment against a former policeman who was accused of corruptly soliciting and receiving a bribe in 2005.

As a result of Justice Gillian Lucky’s decision, the charge against Nawaz Ali was dismissed and he will not face a new trial on the allegations which were against him.

His attorney Ravi Rajcoomar sought to have the three indictments against Ali stayed on the basis that it would be unfair since at a first trial the jury had reasonable doubt on the evidence related to the first two counts, and acquitted him.

It was the intent of the prosecution to use that evidence to support the third count at the second trial but Lucky said to do so would be averse to the fairness of the trial process.

“A court is not supposed to be a mechanical creature, just rubber stamping decisions.”

She said to let the prosecution use the evidence would have led to contamination and confusion at a second trial, and allowed in all sorts of satellite issues, including an explanation on what took place at the first trial.

At the first trial, it was alleged by the State that on December 29, 2005, Ali solicited from a man a bribe to forbear prosecution in a criminal case.

It was alleged that the two struck an agreement and $4,500 was paid by the man to Ali. It was also alleged that an arrangement was made for the payment of the balance of $1,500, which was made on January 4, 2006, at the Cunupia police station where Ali worked.

The second transaction was allegedly monitored by police as part of a sting operation. An envelope with marked bills was allegedly found in Ali’s pants pocket.

The first two counts related to the first alleged transaction while the third on the second. At the first trial the jury found him not-guilty of the first two counts of soliciting and accepting a bribe, while they found him guilty of the third count.

A Court of Appeal, which sent the case back for a retrial in 2010, said the three counts were inextricably linked and there could be no rational explanation for the jury’s verdicts.

It was also for this reason that Lucky did not allow the prosecution to rely on the evidence relating to the first two counts, which had been rejected by the jury, at the fresh trial and stayed the indictment.

Ali was before Lucky in the Port of Spain Fifth Criminal Court.

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