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Judge’s DUI matter adjourned

Published: 
Tuesday, May 29, 2018
High Court Judge Kevin Ramcharan makes his way into the Port-of-Spain Magistrates’ Court yesterday. PICTURE SHIRLEY BAHADUR

High Court Judge Kevin Ramcharan appeared in court yesterday charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol.

Ramcharan’s appearance was eagerly anticipated by lawyers, Judiciary staff and members of the public who were speculating about it in the corridors of the courts and in social media group chats from early yesterday morning. However, the turned out to be anti-climatic as the case was adjourned without the charge being read to Ramcharan or him being called upon to enter a plea.

Dressed in a grey suit, Ramcharan, who was charged following an accident in Maraval on Saturday night, appeared before Magistrate Duane Murray in the Port-of-Spain Magistrates’ Court around 10 am.

Ramcharan sat silently on a bench reserved for police officers as he waited on Murray to adjourn the cases on his extensive list and call his case. When he eventually made his way into the prisoner’s enclosure and Murray was about to read the charge, he (Murray) was interrupted by Ramcharan’s lawyer Keith Scotland.

Scotland asked if Murray could differ reading the charge and called on him to enter a plea, as he (Ramcharan) wanted to speak to the head of his legal team, Gilbert Peterson, SC, who is abroad.

Inspector Ian Carthy, of the T&T Police Service (TTPS)’s legal department, did not oppose the move as he said the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) would need time to appoint a State attorney to prosecute the case.

Carthy also sought to make an application to correct an error on the official documents made by investigators. Investigators wrote that Ramcharan was charged under Section 70(4)(1) of the Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic Act, when he was in fact charged under Section 70 (A)(1).

Scotland said he and Peterson would use the adjournment to consider the application. Ramcharan is expected to reappear before Murray on July 3.

During the hearing, Murray certified Ramcharan’s $15,000 bail bond that was granted by a Justice of the Peace shortly after his arrest. While Scotland noted the bail was high, he did not seek a variation.

Ramcharan had 12 cases scheduled before him in the Port-of-Spain High Court yesterday morning. Litigants and their attorneys were informed of the adjournment of the cases to June 13 via a notice that was placed on the door of the courtroom.

Legal sources said yesterday that the Judicial and Legal Service Commission (JLSC), which is tasked with appointing, promoting and disciplining judicial officers, will only meet to determine if action should be taken against Ramcharan after the case is determined by Murray.

According to reports, around 11 pm Saturday, Ramcharan was driving his Land Rover Discovery when he was involved in an accident along Saddle Road near Pizza Boys/Church’s Chicken. Police were summoned to the scene and Ramcharan was administered a breathalyser test. He allegedly registered a reading of 55 microgrammes of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

The charge was laid by PC Rondell Romany of the St Clair Police Station.

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