AN attorney from south Trinidad who applied for a firearm user’s licence (FUL) has been granted leave by a High Court judge to challenge the Police Commissioner’s failure to make a decision on her application.
Justice Betsy Ann Lambert-Peterson granted permission to the 37-year-old attorney, who is seeking declarations that she is entitled a decision on her FUL application and has been treated unfairly.
The attorney has asked forher identity to remain protected because of the crime situation and her job, which, she said, prompted her to apply for the gun licence.
She also wants the court to order the commissioner to make a decision seven days after it gives a decision.
The lawsuit comes up for hearing on June 14.
In May 2020, she said she received a provisional licence which enabled her to get training for the use of a firearm, after which she applied for an FUL in August 2021.
She said she e-mailed the police’s firearms permit unit several times to get an update on her application and visited in person on July 6, 2022.
She continued to seek a response up to November 2022, but has not been told when the commissioner will make a decision on her application.
Her attorneys also sent several letters to the commissioner and the Chief State Solicitor’s department of the Office of the Attorney General.
She also said she applied for the FUL for her safety and that of her family. Her claim contends that the commissioner is guilty of unreasonable delay, since almost two years have elapsed since she applied.
“When the claimant submitted her application for an FUL in August 2021, the first defendant’s duty under section 17 of the act was triggered, and she was required to make a decision on the claimant’s application.
“By failing and/or refusing and/or delaying in making a decision on the claimant’s application in a period in excess of 20 months, which period is plainly inordinate and unreasonable, and in the absence of any justifiable reason for the said failure and/or refusal and/or delay, the first defendant omitted to perform a duty in law,“ the claim contends.
On her claim for redress under the Constitution, it said the attorney's right to protection of the law was violated by the commissioner’s failure to make a decision.
She wants compensation to vindicate the contravention of her rights.
“The claimant has suffered fear, emotional and mental distress and inconvenience as a result of the first defendant’s failure to make a decision of her application for an FUL, given the escalating rate of crime, particularly against women.”
She is represented by attorneys Michael Rooplal, Kristy Mohan and Jamie Maharaj.